Is Homeland Security's Increase To H-2B Visa Cap Too Little, Too Late?

Published: Monday, July 24, 2017 - 3:40pm
Updated: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 10:39am

The numbers of  guest worker visas offered that Luis Salinas, a sociologist with the Center for Immigration Research at the University of Houston, spoke about there are being hotly debated in Washington.

The Department of Homeland Security recently announced that they’ll essentially double the cap on this year’s quota for these H-2B non-agricultural visas with an increase of 15,000 a year.

But many think that increase is too little, too late.

So what is the Department of Homeland Security’s motivation here?

The department says they’re reserved for businesses that would suffer “irreparable harm” without them, and that’s because there aren't enough qualified, or willing workers here in the U.S. to do these jobs.

But I also spoke with an economist here in Arizona who says it’s not quite that simple.

Timothy James, a research professor in the Department of Economics at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU, says many of the people who come to the U.S. on these non-agricultural visas are brought here to work in hotels or restaurants. So they need to speak English and are often from Eastern European countries.

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