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Harris Leads Effort to Acquire Additional H-2B Visas

January 27, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC: Rep. Andy Harris, M.D. (MD-01) is leading an effort to urge the Administration to grant additional H-2B Visas.  Rep. Harris organized a bipartisan letter signed by 151 Members of Congress and 38 Senators, requesting the release of 64,716 additional visas.  These guest worker visas provide temporary, seasonal workers to employers who are unable to hire employees locally. The visas are utilized extensively by seafood processors and crab houses, among others, on the Eastern Shore.

The H-2B program provides visas for temporary work in seasonal, non-agricultural industries and is subject to an annual cap of 66,000 visas. The FY 2020 Further Consolidated Appropriations Act, passed in December 2019, provides the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, the authority to release an additional 64,716 H-2B visas for FY 2020 should they find that the needs of American businesses cannot be satisfied in fiscal year 2020 with United States workers who are willing, qualified, and able to perform temporary nonagricultural labor.

Rep. Andy Harris made the following statement:

“Today I sent a letter with 188 of my colleagues, both Democrat and Republican, from both the House and Senate, urging the Administration to grant additional H-2B visas.  As a member of the Committee on Appropriations, I coauthored the amendment in the FY 2020 Appropriations bill that authorized the additional visas.  These guest workers are crucial to the economy of Maryland’s First District, particularly on the Eastern Shore, and support thousands of American jobs.  While it is ultimately the responsibility of Congress to provide a long term solution to the chronic shortage of H-2B visas, I strongly urge the administration to use the authority granted to them to release the maximum number of additional visas.  The bipartisan support for this program demonstrates how crucial it is for our local employers and the American employees supported by the temporary assistance.  This program helps sustain our local economy and crab houses, and I will continue to work as an advocate for employers and employees in the First District and on the Eastern Shore.”

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