In May 2011, the Department of Labor issued a new proposed rule concerning the H-2B program. In order to assess the likely impact of the rule, ImmigrationWorks conducted a survey of H-2B employers.
A questionnaire was circulated in late April by H-2B agents and business associations with members likely to hire seasonal workers. Over three weeks, 501 H-2B employers responded. They returned again and again to a common theme. "Why on earth," one asked, "do these bureaucrats in Washington think they know more about how to run my business than I do? What do they understand about the reality of my season, my labor needs, the conditions in which we have to work, the quality of service my customers expect?"
The H-2B program is small, but the stakes are high. The consequences for U.S. workers will be exactly the opposite of what the Department of Labor intends. Rather than opening jobs for Americans and improving their working conditions, the new rule will force many H-2B employers to downsize or close, shedding U.S. jobs and generating less economic activity up- and downstream in the local economy.