The bill gives DHS the ability to “increase the total number” of H-2B foreign visa workers who can be brought into the U.S. to take blue-collar, nonagricultural jobs that would otherwise go to working-class Americans.
DHS Secretaries over the last four years have repeatedly allowed businesses to import more H-2B foreign visa workers above the annual cap of 66,000. Continuation of the policy would come as 24.5 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. About 17.8 million of those are jobless.
The H-2B visa program has been widely used by businesses to drag down the wages of American workers in landscaping, conservation work, the meatpacking industry, the construction industry, and fishing jobs, according to a 2019 study from the Center for Immigration Studies.
When comparing the wages of H-2B foreign workers to the national wage average for each blue-collar industry, about 21 out of 25 of the industries offered lower wages to foreign workers than Americans.
In the construction industry, wage suppression is significant, with H-2B foreign workers being offered more than 20 percent less than their American counterparts. In the fishing industry, foreign workers were offered more than 30 percent less for their jobs than Americans in the field. In the meatpacking industry, foreign workers got 23 percent less pay than Americans.