WASHINGTON -- President Joe Biden's administration announced an increase Tuesday in the number of temporary seasonal workers who will be allowed to work in the U.S. this year as the U.S. economy recovers from the pandemic.
The Department of Homeland Security said the U.S. would approve an additional 22,000 H2-B seasonal, non-agricultural worker visas on top of the annual limit of 66,000 set by Congress. It cited increased demand from employers, with the number of people seeking jobless benefits at the lowest point since the outbreak of COVID-19.
Employers must show they tried to recruit U.S. workers and then certify that they will suffer “irreparable harm” without a foreign, seasonal worker in order to qualify for the program, DHS said in a statement announcing the supplemental increase.
People from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala made up nearly half of the migrants apprehended at the U.S. southwest border last month, part of an increase that has turned into an early test for Biden.
DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said that setting aside visas for Central Americans reflects the administration's goal of “expanding lawful pathways for opportunity in the United States” for people from the Northern Triangle countries.
“They need security, economic opportunity and access to food to feed their families,” Thomas-Greenfield said. “That’s what’s driving them from their homes. So ultimately, that’s what we need to address.”