"Congress gave me the discretionary authority to provide temporary relief to American businesses in danger of suffering irreparable harm due to a lack of available temporary workers", said Secretary John Kelly.
After consulting with Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly determined there are not enough qualified and willing U.S. workers available to perform temporary nonagricultural labor to satisfy the needs of some American businesses in FY 2017.
According to NBC, in 2016, the federal government allowed 13,382 additional visas to meet seasonal demand.
Congress paved the way to increasing the number of H-2B workers in May when it passed an omnibus budget to avert a government shutdown. However, May's $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill gave Kelly and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta the authority to ignore this cap and increase the number of low skilled foreign workers admitted by "the highest number" of H-2B nonimmigrants who participated in the H-2B returning worker exemption.
The Trump administration's decision to increase the number of H-2B visas, even just temporarily, shows how the president's campaign talk is now colliding with powerful employers and his own party. A new tip line to report general H-2B abuse and employer violations has also been established. Foreign workers with H-2B visas are qualified for positions in hospitality, maintenance, retail, warehouses, theme parks, landscaping and security.
To receive the visas, businesses must attest they would suffer irreparable harm if they can not bring in those workers.
Trump vowed during the campaign to discourage businesses from using foreign workers and to focus on hiring Americans first.
Congress set the maximum number of H-2B visas to be issued at 66,000 for the fiscal year, which ends September 30.
Still, senior DHS officials insisted the policy fits Trumps self-styled "America First" agenda because it will help American businesses. Afterwards, the business must hire a candidate, submit paperwork, schedule an interview at the local embassy, and secure a plane ticket for the worker to come to the US. With Mar-a-Lago President Trump's Florida resort looking to hire sixty-four workers under this program.
"Nationally, there isn't actual evidence of labor shortages people talk about", he said.
The DHS believes that there is a gap between the demands of businesses and the number of "qualified and willing USA workers", and announced on Monday that they are looking into increasing the number of seasonal workers granted access into the United States.
Trump issued a warning, Promising to stand up for American companies and their employees, that the United States would take retaliatory action against "unfair trade practices" by other nations, reports CNN.