Durbin Statement on Administration's Action to Expand And Strengthen H-2B Visa Program

CHICAGO – U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), in consultation with the Department of Labor (DOL), announced that nearly 65,000 supplemental H-2B visas will be allocated in fiscal year (FY) 2023 and that DHS and DOL are implementing changes to address abuses in the H-2B Visa Program:  

“I have long had serious concerns about the effect of increasing the H-2B cap on conditions and wages for American and guest workers. I am encouraged to see that DHS coupled the fiscal year 2023 increase in the H-2B cap with additional labor protections. These changes are a step in the right direction, but the Biden Administration must continue its efforts to protect workers, including by implementing regulations to improve wages and working conditions for all H-2B workers.”

DHS and DOL also announced the creation of the H-2B Worker Protection Taskforce, which will focus on identifying threats to the integrity of the H-2B program and policy solutions that strengthen protections for H-2B workers.

Durbin and U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, previously criticized DHS’ decision to release additional H-2B temporary non-agricultural work visas. The Senators’ statement followed the announcement that DHS would make available an additional 35,000 H-2B temporary nonagricultural worker visas for the second half of fiscal year (FY) 2022. The Senators were likewise critical of similar H-2B visa expansions during the previous administration.