The Administration continues it’s rampant anti-immigrant and anti-worker agenda by quietly banning workers from the Philippines, Ethiopia and Dominican Republic from H-2A and H-2B Visa Eligibility
Washington, DC - Last month, the US Department of Homeland Security announced that workers from the Philippines, Ethiopia, and the Dominican Republic will not be not eligible to participate in the H-2A and H-2B visa programs for the next year. Flying under the radar for most of the public, this regulation is a quieter part of the administration's rampant anti-immigrant agenda by dividing workers, American and foreign, while depriving us all of rights, opportunities, and a dignified wage. Instead of singling out countries and cutting off the economic livelihood for workers struggling to support their families, the administration and congress should work together to reform our broken immigration system that leaves workers vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by bad employers and greedy recruiters. Hardworking immigrants in the U.S. workforce deserve opportunities and protections, things that will only be guaranteed with appropriate oversight and accountability over our current guestworker programs.
H-2A visas allow foreign workers to work in the U.S. as agricultural workers. H-2B visas allow foreign workers to work in the U.S. as non-agricultural workers, such as resort, hospitality, landscaping, food service, and construction workers. Both of which are temporary visas for low-wage workers.
APALA Executive Director Alvina Yeh stated, “While our long term vision is to increase opportunities that include pathways to citizenship, temporary overseas work such as allowed by the H-2A and H-2B visa programs in the United States is an important source of income for our brothers and sisters in the Philippines and elsewhere to find work and support their families. Guest workers deserve rights and opportunities, just as we do. Until greedy corporations and abusive employers are held to account, the administration should not expand the program or unfairly target individual countries and workers. By quietly banning low-wage Asian workers, the administration is dangerously upholding the model minority myth, hoping to easily sweep us out the door, but we will not stay silent while our Filipino brothers and sisters are singled out.
“Instead of targeting vulnerable populations, the Administration should address greedy corporations and abusive employers. In order to strengthen labor conditions in the U.S., the administration should hold labor violators accountable, invest in Department of Labor investigations to raise workplace condition standards and safety, provide data transparency, and more. All of which can be applied to the H-2B visa program to strengthen it as an opportunity for low-wage workers, as we work towards long-term policy solutions that guarantees workers a path to citizenship.”