The Department of Labor (DOL) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have announced that they will no longer accept or process applications for H-2B temporary worker visas. The DOL and DHS took these actions after a March 4, U.S. District Court decision in Perez v. Perez, No. 3:14-cv-682 (N.D. Florida, Mar. 4, 2015) that vacated the 2008 H-2B rule the program had been operating under. These actions have effectively shut down the H-2B program for any employer that has not completed the H-2B application process. This impacts large segments of the horse industry that rely heavily on H-2B workers
The H-2B program is used by members of the horse industry, principally horse trainers and owners who cannot find American workers to fill semi-skilled jobs as grooms, exercise riders, and stable attendants at racetracks, horse shows, fairs and in similar non-agricultural activities.
In its ruling the federal district court affirmed that the DOL lacks the authority to issue unilateral rules regarding the H-2B program and therefore did not have the authority to issue either the 2008 rule or a 2012 rule that had earlier been blocked. However, the court order did not require DOL to suspend processing prevailing wage determinations or labor certifications as part of its role as a consultant agency to the DHS. Further, the law and DHS regulations require DOL to perform these functions. DOL had provided these services to DHS without a rule making for over 40 years and should continue to do so even in light of the court order. In addition, the court decision did not require DHS to suspend H-2B processing.
If you, your business or members of your organization rely on H-2B workers, please contact your two Senators and Member of Congress and ask them to compel the DOL and DHS to immediately resume processing H-2B prevailing wage determinations and labor certifications and restart the H-2B application process.
You can reach your Senators and Representative by calling the Congressional switchboard at 202-225-3121. Ask for your their' offices and ask to speak to the staff person who handles immigration issues.
Call them today and tell them:
- The Department of Labor (DOL) and the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service (USCIS) have announced that they have stopped processing all applications for H-2B visas, effective March 5, 2015.
- For hundreds of employers with applications pending before these agencies or not yet filed for 2015, this shuts down the H-2B program and will shut down their businesses.
- You support and rely on the H-2B Program.
- Horse farms, trainers, horse shows, and others in the horse industry are often unable able to find Americans who are willing and able to take jobs as grooms, and stable attendants.
- Despite substantial efforts to recruit American workers the industry has been forced to rely on foreign workers and the H-2B temporary worker program to meet their labor needs.
It is vital that Congress contact the DOL and DHS and demand that the Departments immediately resume processing H-2B applications.
You can also email or fax your Senators and Representative. To find their website and contact information, visit the Senate website at http://www.senate.gov/ or house website at http://www.house.gov/ and follow the instructions for finding and contacting your Members of Congress.
If you have any questions please contact the AHC.