Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) has put a hold on Pres. Trump’s nominee for USCIS director, Lee Francis Cissna, until DHS Secretary Kelly increases the number of H-2B visas available for this year. In the latest omnibus spending bill, Congress granted authority to DHS to approve 70,000 additional H-2B visas over the current cap of 66,000.
Based on Senate rules a single lawmaker is allowed to place a “hold” on a bill or nominee in order to delay action. Sen. Tillis has been a vocal advocate for increasing the number of low-skilled foreign guest workers through the H-2B visa program.
The H-2B visa is primarily used by the landscaping, hospitality, and tourism industries to fill seasonal or temporary jobs. A recent Center for Immigration Studies report argued that these H-2B jobs usually pay better than minimum wage and should go to Americans instead of foreign workers.
“These are jobs that used to be held by college students. I certainly did it when I was in college,” said Jessica Vaughan, the report’s author. “But they’ve gotten away from that because it’s just easier — they don’t have to recruit people, they don’t have to accommodate the schedules of students.”
NumbersUSA Government Relations Director Rosemary Jenks said, “President Trump won the election on a message of ending the practice of using immigration to harm American workers. I find it amazing that a few short months later, a United States senator — a Republican no less — is preventing a vote on a presidential appointee in order to extort extra visas for low-skilled foreign workers on behalf of the cheap labor lobby. Sen. Tillis should be ashamed.”
DHS spokesman David Lapan previously announced that Secretary Kelly would offer some additional H-2B visas but is still deciding on when and how many to offer. He said that they should know more later this month.
Read more on this story at The Washington Times.
Updated: Tue, Jul 25th 2017 @ 9:45am EDT