The H-2B seasonal guest worker program has been one of the big reasons for the growth of the professional landscape industry this past decade. Without reliable and cheap labor the industry could not have possibly met its customers' demands.
On the surface it seems to be a happy marriage — the landscape services industry and the annual flow of willing, hard-working seasonal immigrants.
But this is a government program with more than a few blemishes — from unscrupulous recruiters in Latin America (mostly Mexico) that charge fellow countrymen exorbitant fees in the hopes (usually unfounded) of working legally in the United States to middlemen in the United States who invent false companies and fraudently inflate the number of workers companies need in order to snap up more H-2B visas than they would be entitled to otherwise.
SInce the number of workers gaining H-2B visas is limited, every visa that's obtained illegally denies another company a legal immigrant worker.
It's with some satisfaction that I alert you to the guilty plea entered by Missouri Representative Nathan Cooper, Cape Girardeau. He plead guilty to fraud charges of obtaining worker visas for clients in the trucking business. The 33-year-old immigration attorney had a nice little racket going on and reportedly pocketed thousands of dollars in the process.
Cooper is likely to spend some hard time in the joint and pay a pretty hefty fine.
This thing is getting a lot of press in Missouri, more news reports are coming in and they say that Cooper has resigned from the Missouri House and he's losing his law license, too.
Here's one interesting report: http://www.semissourian.com/story/1245545.html
And Land Line, a magazine for professional truckers kicked in with a news story of its own, which you can access at:
Click on the headline to read yet another newspaper article about how this state rep let his greed get the better of him. — Ron Hall