Hey friends, it's that time again — time to let your U.S. representatives and senators know what you think about the H-2B Seasonal Guest Worker program.
On Tuesday, Feb. 14, Senators Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) and other senators introduced legislation to extend the Save Our Small and Seasonal Businesses Act through 2009. The bill would extend the repeat worker exemption from the H-2B cap through fiscal 2009 (Sept. 31, '09). The same legislation (HR 4740) was introduced in the House yesterdday by Rep. Gilchrist (R-MD), Delahunt (D-MA), Bass (R-NH) and Ortiz (D-TX).
The passage of the Act in 2005 allowed the landscape industry access to seasonal immigrant workers when it looked like they would be shut out thanks to the H-2B''s federally mandated cap of 66,000 worker visas.
I know how some of you feel about immigration, any form of immigration. And I understand where you're coming from. Nations have borders and the borders are there for a reason. Yes, it's a damned shame that we've got the immigration mess that we've got. But don't blame the guest worker programs. Judged in comparison to other government run programs, this one is a slam dunk succes.
Let your lawmakers know that you support the guest worker programs and get the Act extended for two more years. — Ron Hall