GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas

GOP senators urge Trump not to restrict guest worker visas
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican senators are asking the Trump administration not to restrict temporary work-based visas amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

GOP Sens. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamBringing America back from the brink Progressive groups warn Congress against Section 230 changes Senators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynTrump censure faces tough odds in Senate Senate GOP slow walking Biden's pick to lead DHS Why John Roberts's absence from Senate trial isn't a surprise MORE (Texas), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGOP digs in on preserving Trump tax cuts OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Biden's Interior Department temporarily blocks new drilling on public lands | Group of GOP senators seeks to block Biden moves on Paris, Keystone | Judge grants preliminary approval for 0M Flint water crisis settlement Sweeping COVID-19, spending deal hits speed bumps MORE (Idaho), Jim Risch (Idaho), Mike RoundsMike RoundsSenate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time The Memo: Chances recede of GOP breaking with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Biden: Focus on vaccine, virus, travel MORE (S.D.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungSenate panel advances Buttigieg nomination in 21-3 vote Trump, allies raise pressure on Senate GOP ahead of impeachment Moderates vow to 'be a force' under Biden MORE (Ind.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiTrump censure faces tough odds in Senate The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - White House targets climate change in today's executive orders The Hill's Morning Report - Biden seeks vaccine for all by summer; Trump censure? MORE (Alaska), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanSenators vet Buttigieg to run Transportation Department McConnell about to school Trump on political power for the last time Senate poised to override Trump's defense bill veto MORE (Alaska) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordSenate GOP slow walking Biden's pick to lead DHS Lankford to stay on Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission after Capitol riot Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators MORE (Okla.) argue that issuing H-2B and H-2A visas, which are used for seasonal workers, will help economic recovery.

The call comes as some conservative lawmakers have called for the suspension of work visas amid widespread unemployment. According to the lawmakers, most states rely on guest workers "to help keep their forestry, landscaping, seafood, and hospitality businesses open."


“Some of these struggling small businesses rely on labor that many Americans may not be qualified or able to perform, even in the aftermath of the pandemic, and some of these businesses operate in industry sectors that are not experiencing high unemployment—in contrast with the overall national unemployment figures—or in particular geographical locations where qualified labor is scarce,” the senators wrote in a letter addressed to President TrumpDonald TrumpFBI says California extremist may have targeted Newsom House Democrat touts resolution to expel Marjorie Taylor Greene from Congress Facebook to dial back political content on platform MORE

Earlier this month the Department of Homeland Security announced plans to publish a new rule this week that would allow an additional 30,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the remainder of fiscal 2019.

At the time, Sen. Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonCotton calls for removal of National Guard from DC Senate GOP signals it's likely to acquit Trump for second time The Economist hires former NYT editor who resigned following Cotton editorial MORE (R-Ark.) called the move "bad news for hard-working Americans and more than 50k unemployed Arkansans." 

As the lawmakers noted Wednesday, the employers hiring workers using temporary visas must “establish the lack of American workers who are able, willing, qualified, and available to do the temporary work.” 

“Due to the temporary and seasonal nature of the work, it is exceedingly difficult to find American workers, even now, who wish to work only on a temporary basis. Many of the jobs lost since March are not temporary or seasonal,” the lawmakers wrote.