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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 GrahamGOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade Biden seeks to close any path for Trump win in race's final days MORE (S.C.), John CornynJohn CornynTrump leads Biden in Texas by 4 points: poll President Trump: To know him is to 'No' him Dallas Morning News poll shows Biden leading Trump in Texas MORE (Texas), Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoBarrett says she did not strike down ObamaCare in moot court case GOP Sen. Thom Tillis tests positive for coronavirus 22 GOP attorneys general urge Congress to confirm Barrett as Supreme Court justice MORE (Idaho), Jim Risch (Idaho), Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsDuring pandemic, 'telehealth' emerging as important lifeline to connect patients with caregivers The Hill's Campaign Report: Team Trump on defense over president's comments on white supremacy Trump says Proud Boys should 'stand down' after backlash to debate comments MORE (S.D.), Todd YoungTodd Christopher YoungRepublicans: Supreme Court won't toss ObamaCare Vulnerable Republicans break with Trump on ObamaCare lawsuit Senate GOP eyes early exit MORE (Ind.), Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiHarris blasts GOP for confirming Amy Coney Barrett: 'We won't forget this' GOP Senate confirms Trump Supreme Court pick to succeed Ginsburg Murkowski predicts Barrett won't overturn Roe v. Wade MORE (Alaska), Dan SullivanDaniel Scott SullivanBiden's oil stance jars Democrats in tough races Coordinated federal leadership is needed for recovery of US travel and tourism The Hill's Campaign Report: Democrats break fundraising records in Senate races MORE (Alaska) and James LankfordJames Paul LankfordMcConnell says he would give Trump-backed coronavirus deal a vote in Senate Senators push for Turkey sanctions after reports Ankara used Russian system to detect US-made jets McConnell: Plan is to confirm Trump's Supreme Court pick before election 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."

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“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 John TrumpTrump admin to announce coronavirus vaccine will be covered under Medicare, Medicaid: report Election officials say they're getting suspicious emails that may be part of malicious attack on voting: report McConnell tees up Trump judicial pick following Supreme Court vote 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 mocks NY Times over claim of nonpartisanship, promises to submit op-eds as test Barrett fight puts focus on abortion in 2020 election COVID outbreak threatens GOP's Supreme Court plans 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.