Rep. Zeldin calls on DHS to lift cap on H-2B visa program

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U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley) is calling on the Department of Homeland Security to lift the cap on the H-2B visa program.

It allows employers to supplement their workforce by hiring foreign workers on a seasonal basis.

The current nationwide cap of 66,000 visas per fiscal year has already been reached. Many East End businesses say they still don't have the staffing they need as the busier spring season gets underway.

Judy Ogden, of Ogden's Design and Plantings, normally hires 13 seasonal workers from abroad at this time of year. But none of the immigrants she tried to bring into the country were approved this year. She says small businesses are hurt by the cap.

Zeldin, who has supported President Donald Trump's hard-line stance against illegal immigration, says this situation is different. He says the workers would be coming here legally and would pay taxes. He also says the jobs they would perform are not being filled by Americans.

"If you employed every single able-bodied adult in the 1st Congressional District, you would still have many other jobs that are unfilled," says Zeldin. "Unless you're going to start putting 11-year-olds to work here on the East End, there's no physical way with the people who live here to have enough individuals with the capability of filling these roles."

If the cap is lifted by the Department of Homeland Security, it would be a temporary fix for this year.

Zeldin is also pushing for a permanent increase in the number of seasonal foreign workers allowed into the U.S.

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