How Many Foreign Farm Workers Are Really Here?
IRLI sues U.S. Customs and Border Protection for H-2A and H-2B visa records
WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has sued U.S. Customs and Border Protection (USCBP), seeking information on H-2A and H-2B visa holders entering the United States since 2013. IRLI attorneys filed the suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, as USCBP has failed to produce the requested records pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
The lawsuit seeks records on the number and country of citizenship of H-2A and H-2B visa holders who entered the United States through air, sea, and land border ports of entry and overstayed their period of admissions for fiscal years 2013 through 2017.
H-2A and H-2B visas allow foreign nationals to enter the United States to perform work on a temporary basis. H-2B visas have previously been capped at 66,000 annually. The recently-passed omnibus spending bill specified roughly doubled the number of H-2B visas available. While open to citizens of many countries, the vast majority of workers employed under H-2A are from Mexico. Most of the workers using these visas work in the agricultural industry, but they find work in other areas including resorts and landscaping.
“Despite the Trump administration’s efforts to bring sanity to our immigration policy, the recent omnibus spending bill provided for a significant expansion of the H-2B program,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Not only do these programs enable a flood of foreign workers into the country, they are one more avenue where American workers are bypassed for employment. American citizens deserve to see the raw data on the country of origin and number of workers coming in through these visa programs.”
The case is FAIR v. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, No. 18-0874 (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia).
For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • firstname.lastname@example.org