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 GrahamTrump critics push new direction for GOP Graham warns about trying to 'drive' Trump from GOP: 'Half the people will leave' Cheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynPolice reform talks hit familiar stumbling block CNN asks Carol Baskin to comment on loose Texas tiger Biden-McConnell cold war unlikely to end at White House MORE (Texas), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoDemocrats, GOP agree on one thing: They're skeptical of a deal Top Republican seeks clarity on estimate of trillion in unpaid taxes Biden to meet with GOP senators amid infrastructure push MORE (Idaho), Jim Risch (Idaho), Mike RoundsMike RoundsDemocrats, GOP agree on one thing: They're skeptical of a deal Senate GOP keeps symbolic earmark ban Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term MORE (S.D.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungSenate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Senate to vote on bill aimed at countering China's influence this month House conservatives take aim at Schumer-led bipartisan China bill MORE (Ind.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiCheney set to be face of anti-Trump GOP Utah county GOP censures Romney over Trump impeachment vote Bottom line MORE (Alaska), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanHillicon Valley: Global cybersecurity leaders say they feel unprepared for attack | Senate Commerce Committee advances Biden's FTC nominee Lina Khan | Senate panel approves bill that would invest billions in tech Kerry denies allegations from leaked Iran tapes OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Supreme Court considers whether US should pay for Guam hazardous waste cleanup | EPA eyes reversal of Trump revocation of California vehicle emissions waiver | Kerry faces calls to step down over leaked Iran tapes MORE (Alaska) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordRubio and bipartisan group of senators push to make daylight saving time permanent Senate inches toward COVID-19 vote after marathon session Ron Johnson grinds Senate to halt, irritating many 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 TrumpWarren says Republican party 'eating itself and it is discovering that the meal is poisonous' More than 75 Asian, LGBTQ groups oppose anti-Asian crime bill McConnell says he's 'great admirer' of Liz Cheney but mum on her removal 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 CottonTim Scott sparks buzz in crowded field of White House hopefuls Opposition to refugees echoes one of America's most shameful moments White House defends CDC outreach to teachers union 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.