On Wednesday July 25, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Appropriations passed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill along party lines (29-22), the bill included an amendment that would exempt returning workers from the H-2B statutorily mandated cap. The amendment was strongly endorsed by NALP and the H-2B Coalition as a legitimate fix to the ongoing H-2B problem.
The amendment passed by a voice vote, which is a signal that there was minimal opposition to the H-2B provision. During oral testimony in support of the amendment our sponsors/champions Reps. Harris (R-MD), Cuellar (D-TX), Pingree (D-MN), Stewart (R-UT) and Ruppersberger (D-MD) provided our talking points and arguments in support of the amendment for the record.
This is a tremendous first step in the process, but there are still many steps before the amendment could become law, including additional steps in both the House and Senate. The DHS appropriations bill is one of 12 appropriations bills that must be signed into law before the end of the government’s fiscal year on September 30th. The DHS appropriations bill remains one of the most controversial appropriation bills, ripe for political debate on contentious immigration issues.
NALP will be working with our H-2B Coalition partners and legislators in both the House and the Senate to continue to advance the returning worker exemption and will be providing additional information and next steps in the near future.