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SPLC: Increase in Visas Must Come with Worker Protections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week announced an additional 22,000 H-2B visas will be made available to employers this fiscal year. The following statement is from Meredith Stewart, a senior supervising attorney with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Immigrant Justice Project.  

“The Biden administration’s expansion of the temporary work visa program must be accompanied by the implementation of much needed reforms to the program to prevent corporations from exploiting workers and to ensure workers are treated with dignity and respect on the job. And this program cannot be used as a substitute for creating pathways to more permanent forms of relief, like asylum.  

“The H-2 visa program has long been plagued with abuse. H-2 workers are tied to a single employer, and corporations often exploit their power to cheat workers out of the wages they are due and retaliate against workers who speak out over poor conditions or other labor violations. SPLC will remain vigilant to ensure that this expansion of the program does not lead to renewed violations. All workers have rights, and we stand ready to safeguard those rights.”