House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) just allowed a huge defeat for the “open borders” left.
As part of the negotiations over the massive 2020 spending bill recently passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump, Pelosi actually blocked an attempt by a member of her caucus, Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-ME), to effectively double the amount of H-2B blue-collar worker immigrant visas, Breitbart reported.
Amendment expanding visa program blocked
The H-2B visas are offered by the Department of Homeland Security for immigrant workers for a variety of blue-collar labor jobs, such as landscaping and construction and forestry work, but also for service jobs in bars, hotels, and restaurants, among others.
Currently, DHS provides roughly 69,320 H-2B visas per year, and an effort was made by Pingree to include language in the spending bill that would require DHS to essentially double that number to nearly 140,000 such visas per year.
However, in part due to objections from labor unions over concerns that the visa workers were driving down union wages and limiting union-worker opportunity, as well as the typical wrangling and political considerations that are necessary to accumulate bipartisan votes, Pelosi blocked Pingree’s attempt to include language that would double the number of visas.
H-2B program could still expand
To be sure, while this is considered a “win” in the fight against the interminable “open borders” push, it is only partial and temporary in nature, and could potentially even prove to be meaningless at some point in the future.
Pelosi may have blocked the doubling of the H-2B visa program, but that came right on the heels of a massive increase to the H-2A visa program that deals with immigrant agricultural employees and farm workers.
Additionally, language already exists in the law regarding the H-2B visa program that “allows” DHS to nearly double the number of visas issued at its own discretion if the limit of 69,320 is reached prior to a year’s end.
In essence, all Pingree’s amendment would have done is make that doubling an upfront requirement instead of allowing it to occur at DHS’s discretion.
Nor is the fact that President Trump, with his strong stance in support of hiring American workers, is in charge of things any guarantee that DHS won’t decide to increase the amount of H-2B visas issued. Indeed, Breitbart noted that, thanks to pressure placed on DHS from business interests and lobbying groups, an additional 30,000 H-2B visas were issued in 2019 over the limit of 69,320.
A small win in the big picture
Again, this shouldn’t be viewed as an attempt to downplay the significance of Pelosi’s decision, as what she did was a good thing that serves the interests of American workers.
That said, in a broader perspective, it is just one aspect of a larger problem that still needs to be dealt with, such as the half-dozen or more other visa programs for immigrant workers that have been expanded or are running unchecked.