Omnibus Would Quadruple Number of Low-Wage Visas for Foreign Workers

Sen. Sessions says this hurts wages and reduces job prospects for native-born workers

Jeff Sessions / AP

The upcoming appropriations legislation would massively expand the foreign worker program, quadrupling the issuance of low-wage visas, according to an analysis from Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R., Ala.) office.

The H-2B visa program allows employers to hire foreign workers to come temporarily into the United States to work either in nonagricultural labor or a temporary service job. For example, some workers who use the H-2B visa program could be employed as a housekeeper, an amusement park worker, or a landscape laborer.

According to the senator’s office, the language in the omnibus would as much as quadruple the issuance of these low-wage visas, which would replace Americans in blue-collar jobs such as truck driving, restaurant work, and construction. This is happening at a time when record numbers of Americas are not working at all.

"Our immigration system must serve the national interest," Sessions says. "Flooding this loose labor market with additional low-skill labor hurts the wages and reduces the job prospects of those who are recent immigrants and native-born who are struggling the most."

Sen. Sessions wrote a letter to his colleagues in Congress in November requesting that language that would increase the number of H-2B workers in the United States not be included in the Omnibus legislation.

"At a time when the civilian labor force participation rate in the United States is approximately 62.4%, now is not the time to advance legislation further depressing wages and employment for U.S. workers," Sessions said. "Pew polling data shows that 83% of the voting public wishes to see the level of immigration frozen or reduced; it is high time Congress respected the will of the American people."