For the past few months, Greenhouse Grower has reported on the necessity of the House of Representatives to address the H-2B Returning Worker Exemption before the end of the year, and AmericanHort’s efforts in highlighting the importance of the issue.
Unfortunately, the House of Representatives failed to renew the Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that was enacted on a bipartisan basis a year ago and helps ensure that small and seasonal businesses in the landscape industry and beyond have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season. As a result, AmericanHort says an orderly spring 2017 is now in jeopardy.
In a statement, AmericanHort noted that “Renewing this policy is good for American small and family businesses and American workers, whose livelihood is linked to the ability of their employers to meet production peaks with legally authorized supplemental workers. For the H-2B visa holders themselves, the policy rewards good behavior, helping to ensure that those who have obeyed our immigration laws will get back to the employers they know and trust.”
AmericanHort offers special thanks to all the House members that signed a letter urging House leaders to do once again what they did fewer than 12 months ago. In particular, AmericanHort recognized Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Alcee Hastings (D-FL) for their last-ditch efforts to persuade the Rules Committee to address the issue in a timely fashion.
Finally, AmericanHort thanks all of its members and state association partners, who mobilized to send hundreds of messages and make many calls to Congress.
AmericanHort, its grassroots Lighthouse Program partners, and its members will continue efforts toward renewal of the provision, and other sensible improvements to the visa and immigration system.