On the Hill
Potential Fix to H-2B Floated in House, Quickly Goes Down to Defeat
On Tuesday, Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R, VA) introduced an amendment to a compromise bill that sought to resolve many of the immigration issues currently being debated. Included in the bill were provisions that would have required the use of E-Verify for new employees in exchange for permanent exemption from the cap for H-2B workers, something that would have provided great relief to NALP members that rely heavily on temporary guest workers.
NALP’s H2B Advisory Committee was in support of the proposed H2B provisions; however, the H-2B language was removed from the bill late Tuesday evening and, due to other contentious issues revolving around immigration such as DACA and the border wall, the bill ultimately went down to defeat on Wednesday. The good news to take away from this defeat is that Congress continues to hear about the need for permanent H-2B reform.
State & Local Spotlight
District of Columbia | Leaf Blower Ban Contemplated by District Council
Next week, on July 2nd, the D.C. Council will hear testimony on a proposed ban on the sale or use of gasoline-powered leaf blowers in the District. Violators would be subject to a $500 fine. NALP is active in opposing this measure. READ MORE.
North Carolina | Landscape Company Fined for H-2B Violations
The United States Department of Justice
The Justice Department today reached a settlement agreement with Triple H Services LLC, (Triple H), a landscaping company based in Newland, North Carolina, that conducts business in Virginia and four other states. The agreement resolves the Department’s investigation into whether Triple H discriminated against qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status by preferring to hire temporary workers with H-2B visas, in violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).
The Department’s investigation found that although Triple H went through the motions of advertising over 450 landscape laborer vacancies in five states, it did so in a manner that misled U.S. workers about the available positions and prevented or deterred some from applying. The Department found that Triple H did not consider several qualified U.S. workers who applied for positions in Virginia during the recruitment period and instead hired H-2B visa workers. In several states where jobs were available, the Department found that Triple H prematurely closed the online job application process for U.S. worker applicants, filled positions with H-2B visa workers without first advertising the jobs to U.S. workers in the relevant locations, or advertised vacancies in a manner that did not make the postings visible to job seekers using state workforce agency online services.
The Department concluded that in taking these actions, Triple H effectively denied U.S. workers access to jobs based on its preference for hiring temporary H-2B visa workers to fill the positions. Refusing to consider or hire qualified and available U.S. workers based on their citizenship status violates the INA’s anti-discrimination provision, regardless of whether an employer has complied with other rules governing the use of temporary employment-based visa programs. READ MORE.
Maryland | Group Files Amicus Brief in Pesticide Ban Case
Ten organizations filed an Amicus brief this week in support of a 2015 landmark Montgomery County, Maryland ordinance that restricts the use of toxic pesticides on public and private land within its jurisdiction. The law, intended to protect children, pets, wildlife, and the wider environment from the hazards of lawn and landscape pesticide use, is on appeal from a Circuit Court ruling in August 2017 which struck down aspects of the ordinance that apply to private property. READ MORE.
The Latest on H-2B – Weekly Roundup
Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee passed its spending bill for the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Education. The bill continues the following provisions for last year’s Omnibus Appropriations bill:
• Section 111. The bill continues a provision that provides flexibility with respect to the crossing of H-2B nonimmigrants working in seafood;
• Section 112. The bill continues a provision related to the wage methodology under the H-2B program; and
• Section 113. The bill continues a provision regarding the three- fourths guarantee and definitions of corresponding employment and temporary need for purposes of the H-2B program.
The House Appropriations Committee postponed a planned markup of its version of the bill. That bill includes only the provision related to the staggered crossing of seafood workers. The H-2B Workforce Coalition will continue to advocate for the inclusion of all of the Senate measures in a final appropriations bill.
We expect the House Appropriations Committee to take up its funding measure for the Department of Homeland Security later this month. The H-2B Workforce Coalition continues to lobby of meaningful and permanent cap relief to in included in that legislation.
DOL Processing Procedures
DOL plans to publish the attached Federal Register notice on Monday related to H-2B processing. Beginning 7/3/18, DOL will log filings by the millisecond, using the Eastern time for deadlines, and assign cases to analysts in the order they are received. READ MORE.