The H-2B community rode a roller coaster of emotions the last several days while key H-2B provisions were considered during the annual U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations process. While things looked perilous at times during this week, we’re happy to report that we secured significant wins on the H-2B front on behalf of the landscape industry. We apologize in advance for this lengthier than usual article….
This week the House Appropriations Committee marked-up and advanced several of the 11 funding bills for fiscal year 2022. Because Congress remains extremely dysfunctional, the Appropriations process is one of the only ways to pass legislation as riders to these “must pass” funding mechanisms. For the landscape industry and specifically the H-2B program the appropriations process is a place for us to play both offense on positive provisions and defense against negative provision pushed by labor unions. The H-2B program is regulated through both the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Labor (DOL) and the bills that fund both these Federal Departments came up for consideration this week and we detail what transpired on each below.
On Monday June 14th, NALP’s Virtual Legislative Days officially kicks off! The programming on Monday will include virtual meetings to ensure all participants are prepared and equipped to advocate on behalf of the landscape industry with their federal elected officials in the Senate and the House. The schedule on Monday is:
Following the Monday briefings, we are scheduling 100s of virtual meetings for event registrants with their elected officials. NALP is highlighting two key issues to carry to Capitol Hill.
Issue briefings, talking points, and infographics have been prepared for both topics and we look forward to your participation in this free event. Virtual meeting invitations will be sent to all registrants to take place over the course of the next two weeks. If you have not registered or do not receive an invitation to participate, please contact Karla Segundo and we will do everything we can to make a last-minute meeting for you!
Special thanks to our event sponsors FMC and Vermeer for their continued dedication to NALPs pillar to Advocate Relentlessly on behalf of the landscape industry.
UMass Extension Landscape Message #7 May 21 2021
Monday evening, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor reached a deal to release 22,000 supplemental H-2B visas. These additional visas are a result of the discretionary authority granted to DHS by Congress in the FY 21 Appropriations. The official rule has not been published and many details remain unknown with regards to the timing of the release, how will DHS/DOL handle another lottery and if DHS/DOL will require any additional recruiting of U.S. workers. We do know that 6,000 of the 22,000 will be set aside to go exclusively to guest workers from the Northern Triangle Central American countries (El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras).
This announcement comes after Labor Unions (who have tremendous sway within the Democratic party) placed extensive pressure on the Biden Administration against releasing any supplemental H-2B visas. Two weeks ago, during a DHS listening session of the 30 participants that were able to speak 27 urged DHS to promptly act and release supplemental visas.
This all serves to highlight the need for permanent reforms to the H-2B program. NALP is moving forward aggressively to pursue a permanent returning worker exemption and we will need your help in the coming days, weeks, and months to push this forward.