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Shaheen Joins Bipartisan, Bicameral Letter Urging Administration to Increase the Number of Temporary, Non-Immigrant H-2B Workers for 2020

**Letter Emphasizes that the Current Number of H-2B Visas Fails to Adequately Meet U.S. Temporary Workforce Needs** 

(Washington, DC) — This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) sent a bicameral, bipartisan letter with Senator Angus King (I-ME) and a group of lawmakers to Acting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Chad Wolf, urging the administration to immediately increase the statutory cap of H-2B visas for fiscal year 2020. The funding legislation signed into law last month authorized the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of Labor, to release an additional 64,716 H-2B visas for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2020. Senator Shaheen is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and supported this provision in the funding legislation. Shaheen had previously called on Senate Appropriations Committee leadership to provide cap relief in any funding agreement. 

“Given the continued low unemployment and growing demand for H-2B workers, as evidenced by the recent number of applications for the second half of the fiscal year, we urge the Department to promptly make available all 64,716 additional visas authorized under the law as soon as possible,” wrote the Members. “These vital American businesses depend on the expeditious release of a sufficient number of additional visas.” 

H-2B workers support American jobs and small businesses, and the H-2B program is an important asset to New Hampshire’s tourism industry. Bipartisan research has found a direct correlation between increased numbers of H-2B workers and a rise in pay across the board for all employees. As required by law, employers must first make a concerted effort to hire American workers to fill open positions. H-2B visas fill needs for American small businesses when there are not enough able and willing American workers to fill the temporary, seasonal positions. 

Senator Shaheen previously visited Hart’s Turkey Farm in Meredith to discuss the importance of temporary visas and the role they play in New Hampshire’s tourism sector. Last year, Shaheen sent a bipartisan letter urging then-DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen to increase the number of H-2B visas for temporary foreign workers in 2019, and the administration subsequently released additional visas.  

A PDF of the letter led by can be found here.