In an attempt to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, in late April, President Trump issued an Executive Order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. The Immigration Proclamation Although did not suspend the H-2B and other guest worker programs. However, the order did request a review of all guest worker programs as well as a recommendation for possible actions within thirty days. According to sources inside the White House, the Administration is currently weighing multiple options which may carry temporary consequences for the H-2B program.
Last week, responding to the Executive Order, Senators Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and John Cornyn (R-TX) and Representative Andy Harris (R-MD) continued their history of defending and supporting the H-2B program by penning letters to the White House. A common theme among the letters was the emphasis of the H-2B program’s vital role in various industries, noting that H-2B workers would aid the United States’ economic recovery efforts. The Congressmen go on to suggest that further restrictions on the program would not only hinder recovery efforts, but would also do additional harm to the economy and bare devastating consequences for domestic businesses and employers who depend on the program to fill their labor needs.
It is likely that an announcement on further action to guest worker programs including the H-2B visa program may come this week. Though it is doubtful that guest workers already in the United States will be negatively affected, any temporary suspension would likely carry negative consequences for July 1 filers attempting to meet the first half of the FY2021 visa cap.
The Golf Course Superintendent Association of America has been a longtime supporter of the H-2B visa program for the value that it brings to superintendents and the golf course management industry as a whole. We will continue to support and defend the H-2B visa program through grassroots efforts, elected official outreach, and as a member of the H-2B Workforce Coalition as the program is vital to the golf industry’s ability to meet labor needs through seasonal visas. As further action is announced, GCSAA will continue to provide updates while working to protect the H-2B visa program and the demand for seasonal labor.