November 13, 2019

U.S. Wants to Allow More Foreign Workers While Also Restricting Immigration

“If they try to hire Americans, and Americans don’t want to do that job, then there should be no cap,” he said.

Mr. Nowrasteh said he believed that H-2B visas for Mexican workers have helped drive down illegal immigration. He said expanding the program or eliminating the cap could also help reduce the number of undocumented immigrants from Central American countries.

Last month a bipartisan group of senators, led by Susan M. Collins and Angus S. King of Maine, asked the Department of Homeland Security to increase the number of visas as a way to support small businesses in a tight labor market, especially those preparing for the summer season.

“In the short run, many areas of our country simply lack the working-age population needed to meet the demand for seasonal jobs,” the senators wrote in a letter signed by 11 lawmakers. “In some industries, particularly tourism, we fear that the demand for workers so far outstrips the available supply that businesses could be forced to curtail operations, putting at risk the jobs of American workers who fill year-round positions at these establishments.”

But Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which supports curbs on immigration, was critical of the program and said it enabled “businesses to avoid hiring people they’d rather not hire.”

“A nation with a third of a billion spanning an entire continent, with 50 million working-age people not in the labor force, doesn’t need to be importing labor,” he said.

Mr. Krikorian said the proposed expansion of the program was not “backtracking or flip-flopping” by the administration.

“The president has always been a big fan of these guest worker visas,” said Mr. Krikorian, who noted that Mr. Trump’s properties, such as Mar-a-Lago, use this visa program to hire workers.

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