Coalition Letter to DHS Secretary John Kelly Urging Implementation of H-2B Cap Releif from FY 2017 Appropriations Bill

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Subject: Implementation of H-2B Cap Releif from FY 2017 Appropriations Bill
Recipient: The Honorable General John F. Kelly
Sender: H-2B Workforce Coalition
Date Sent: May 10, 2017

Dear Secretary Kelly:
On behalf of seasonal businesses around the country, we urge you to promptly implement the H-2B cap relief provided in the Fiscal 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Due to the time-sensitive nature of seasonal businesses, we encourage you to immediately re-open the H-2B petition process and adjudicate petitions with approved labor certifications. Without prompt adjudication of H-2B petitions, many seasonal businesses could be forced to turn away customers, lay off American workers whose jobs are supported by H-2B workers, or in some cases shut down their operations entirely.

Under Division F – the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act, 2017, Title V, Section 543 of the FY 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, may approve petitions for admission under the H-2B Nonimmigrant Temporary Worker program up to the new statutory level set in the bill for fiscal 2017. Now that this legislation has been signed into law, we urge you promptly implement it. The number of DOL approved labor certifications to date clearly demonstrates that that are a substantial number of seasonal businesses that cannot find an adequate number of United States workers to fill critical seasonal jobs in seafood processing, horse training, hospitality and amusement parks, forestry, landscaping, circuses, carnivals, food
concessionaires, swimming pool maintenance, golf courses, stone quarries and other seasonal industries.

Without immediate implementation of the H-2B cap relief provided in the law, many small and seasonal businesses will not be able to hire the seasonal surge workforce needed this spring and summer because the program’s annual 66,000 cap (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) fails to meet the demands of a growing economy. The cap for the first half of the fiscal year was reached on January 10 and the cap for thesecond half of the year was reached on March 13. The H-2B program relies on well-vetted workers, many of whom return to the same employer year after year and who honor their non-immigrant visas assiduously. These workers allow U.S. businesses to operate at a greater capacity, retain their fulltime
workers and contribute to their local economies. Seasonal workers help support many upstream and downstream jobs. Studies have shown that every H-2B worker supports and sustains 4.64 American jobs.

Thank you for your attention to this critical issue to small and seasonal businesses across the country.

Sincerely,
(See PDF for list of co-signers)