TCIA Commends Congressional Letter in Support of H-2B

Read the Full Letter Here.

On January 27, 2020, a group of 188 Members of Congress and Senators led by Reps. Harris (R-MD), Pingree (D-ME), Bergman (D-MI) and Keating (D-MA) and Senators King (I-ME) and Rounds (R-SD) sent a letter to Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf asking that he immediately release all of the additional H-2B visas authorized under the FY 2020 DHS Appropriations Bill.

The Appropriations Bill gives the Acting Secretary the authority to release an additional 64,716 visas, above the current cap of 66,000. TCIA supports this letter and hopes Acting Secretary Wolf release the maximum number of additional visas allowed by law.

The release of these visas is vitally important to the tree care industry. Given continued low unemployment and a growing demand for workers, H-2B visa holders are critical as they provide our industry willing, able, and vetted employees. TCIA thanks all the Senators and Members of Congress who signed onto the Letter in Support of H-2B.

While this cap relief is important, TCIA also supports a permanent solution to the H-2B cap problem. The current cap of 66,000 per year is far too low. Right now, the annual quota for H-2B visas is filled days after the application period opens, and the process of obtaining a visa is costly and time-consuming. To start, TCIA would support permanently doubling the H-2B cap to 132,000 visas. We need reform to this proven program as one way to address our industries labor shortage, and modifying the cap is a good place to start.

If you are interested in taking an active role in TCIA’s advocacy on issues like H-2B, or you would just like to learn more, please reach out to Aiden O’Brien, TCIA’s Advocacy & Standards Manager at aobrien@tcia.org for more information.