Labor Department Flubs at Protecting American Workers

Press Releases

January 2, 2019

IRLI urges agency to scrap proposed recruitment rule​

WASHINGTON – The Department of Labor (DOL) has issued a proposed rule to change the way employers must try to recruit American workers before giving American jobs to foreign guest workers. On Friday, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) submitted a public comment pointing out how the new rule flies in the face of congressional intent by weakening already-inadequate protections for American workers.

As IRLI explains in its comment, the proposed online recruiting rule is “designed for failure.” In the private sector, there are tried-and-true ways employers use to recruit hourly workers, such as maintaining a 24/7 job hotline and using readily-available commercial applicant tracking systems.

The proposed rule, however, does not require employers to use any of those methods to find Americans before hiring foreigners. Instead, a notice on a website, written in dense government jargon, is enough; DOL even wants to scrap the current requirement that employers run print help-wanted ads in newspapers American job seekers typically read. In sum, the proposed changes would make it very easy for employers to hide jobs from those Americans interested in taking them – and thus meet their goal of hiring more foreigners.

IRLI accordingly suggests a number of changes to the rule that, taken together, would mandate that employers use effective recruitment methods to find Americans first.

“It is disheartening that even the Trump administration proposes to shaft American labor in this way,” said Michael M. Hethmon, senior counsel of IRLI. “As it stands, this proposal is the very opposite of putting Americans first, as Trump promised to do. Instead, it would keep American hourly workers in the dark about jobs they are qualified for – all so employers could pay alien workers less.”

“This proposed rule would not only hurt American workers,” commented Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “It also is unlawful, because it would thwart Congress’s clear intent that jobs only go to foreign guest workers if Americans cannot be found to fill them. We hope the agency takes a hard second look at this rule, and adopts the changes we suggest to protect jobs for hard-working Americans, thus safeguarding our nation’s broad-based prosperity.”

The proposed rule is Modernizing Recruitment Requirements for the Temporary Employment of H-2B Foreign Workers in the United States, 83 Fed. Reg. 55977 (Dept. of Labor 2018).

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

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