Never mind border wall, legal immigration system is the big fix

By Blake Morlock, Tucson Sentinel

migrantworkers_usda_webThe U.S. has a visa system for legal migration. They hand out H2 visas. There’s the H2A for temporary agricultural workers and the H2B for non-agricultural workers. The H2B is capped at 66,000 per year. The H2A has no legal cap but a de facto cap seems to exist based on what the bureaucracy can spill out. Also important to understand is that both of these visas are temporary. They are issued a year at a time and can be extended but only to a point.

Let’s take a look at what it takes to get an H2A. First, the employer must file a petition with the U.S. Department of Labor, which reviews and adjudicates the application to be certain that the workers the employers want to hire are doing jobs that can’t be done by American workers, won’t adversely affect the U.S. labor market and will meet certain conditions. Then the application goes to the Department of Homeland Security, to “review and adjudicate” workers’ threat level prior to entry into the United States. Finally, the workers themselves must apply for the H2A through the Department of State, which “reviews and adjudicates” the visa itself.

When the workers arrive, the employer must provide round-trip transportation, acceptable housing, three square meals a day and pay a salary that is competitive based on the highest of four metrics the government lists.

Now, look at this screen with a straight face and say “the business owner would rather go through three different layers of government bureaucracy for the right to pay a premium for labor than hire Bill and Hank down the street.” Laughing? You should be. Read more …