Apr 29, 2019
The Trump administration will issue 63,000 H-2B visas this summer – nearly twice as many as the 33,000 it had initially planned for.
The H-2B visa, also called a “guest visa,” is a temporary work permit. Typically, businesses such as hotels, amusement parks and landscapers use H-2B holders as seasonal workers, and so companies apply to the federal government for the number of visas they want. Last year, about 80 percent of the H-2B visas were issued for workers from Mexico and Central America.
This surge in H-2B visas comes in the middle of a massive propaganda war against immigrant workers from Mexico and Central America, led by the same Donald Trump whose administration is issuing these temporary work permits.
But it’s not just Trump. Congress, with bipartisan support, authorized the Trump administration to issue 135,000 H-2B visas this year, more than twice as many as the yearly quota of 66,000.
U.S.-based companies have always used temporary workers from across the border to fill low-paying jobs; and the politicians who run the federal government have always obliged, by providing legal cover to the companies’ vicious exploitation of migrant workers. One well-known example is the “Bracero Program,” which ran between 1942 and 1964 (bracero means “one who has arms to do work” in Spanish).
This isn’t really a contradiction for Trump or any other politician. Republican and Democratic leaders don’t really want to stop the flow of immigrant workers across the border – because big business, whose interests both big parties represent, benefits from the exploitation of this low-wage work force. But the attack on immigrant workers is useful for the bosses, because it increases the pressure on immigrant workers and makes it easier for companies to pull down wages – for ALL workers, immigrant as well as native-born.
The ONLY solution for workers is to insist on the free movement of ALL workers everywhere they want or need to go – with FULL citizenship rights, wherever they go. We have no interest in being pitted against our fellow workers from any country.