President Trump Suspends H-2B Program through 2020 - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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President Trump Suspends H-2B Program through 2020

On Monday, June 22, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order to further limit the entry of immigrants into the United States.

The Executive Order extends the April 22 Order which suspended entry of immigrants into the U.S. and expands the scope of the Order to also suspend temporary guest worker programs until the end of 2020.  Guest worker programs that will be suspended are H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L visas.

Here are some key components of the Executive Order:

  • The Order becomes effective on June 24, 2020
    • The Order will be in effect until December 31, 2020
    • The Administration will be required to review the Order every 60 days, the President has the ability to rescind an Executive Order at any time
    • The Order does NOT impact those H-2B workers already in the U.S. for the 2020 season
    • The Order provides exemptions for H-2B workers involved in the food supply and authorizes to make other exemptions for H-2B if there is a “national interest”
    • The Order bars the “admission” and “entry” of H-2B visas but it remains unclear if processing and other parts of the admission process can continue
    • DHS and DOL will be promulgating rules in the very near future providing further information on the Order

In his order, Trump states that “the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security reviewed nonimmigrant programs and found that the present admission of workers within several nonimmigrant visa categories also poses a risk of displacing and disadvantaging United States workers during the current recovery.”

The National Association of Landscape Professionals is deeply disheartened by the President’s order as the H-2B program is a vital component of landscaping’s seasonal business during critical times of the year when manual labor demands expand quickly. As the country recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, H-2B workers will play an integral role in our economic recovery. H-2B workers support the hiring, promoting, and retaining of American workers and the expansion of the companies that use this valuable seasonal guest worker program.

“We were working really closely with those that have influence in the White House to exempt H-2B from any temporary suspension,” says Andrew Bray, VP of government relations for NALP. “There were warring factions inside of the White House, those that were friends with us and understand how beneficial H-2B is to our economy that were helping us and those that have political agendas against H-2B and opposed us. We, unfortunately, lost that battle. So now we will continue to work with our friends in the Administration and Congress to urge change and ensure minimal impacts on the 2021 landscape season.”

NALP is working with Congressional offices to craft legislation in FY 2020 Appropriations that will force the Administration to release H-2B visas for 2021.  Additionally, NALP will continue outreach with the Administration as they have the authority to rescind the order at any time and are committed to reviewing the order every 60 days. Lastly, NALP is exploring all possible legal remedies with other concerned business groups that are adversely impacted by this Executive Order.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.

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