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DOL Holds Season Visas Hostage Over Court Case

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The Department of Labor was called out Wednesday for suspending seasonal visas in an alleged political stunt.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and the Department of Labor suspended the H-2B visa program after a federal judge ordered the dismissal of a set of program regulations from 2008 on the grounds that they didn’t have the authority to create them. The H-2B visa program allows U.S. employers to bring foreign workers to the United States to fill temporary nonagricultural jobs.

“Because of this decision, effective immediately, DOL can no longer accept or process requests for prevailing wage determinations or applications for labor certification in the H-2B program,” the DOL detailed in a memo. “DOL is considering its options in light of the court‘s decision.”

While the federal agencies claim suspension of the program is an appropriate response to the judge’s order, Josh Denison, operations manager at Denison Landscaping, argues they are putting politics before their duties.

“We were notified through H-2B Workforce Coalition,” Denison told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“I have reached out, the coalition has reached out, everyone involved in the program has reached out,” Denison noted. “It was put on hold indefinitely.”

The risk is great for his company. If the problem is not resolved it could lose millions of dollars worth of contracts, face layoffs and damage its reputation with clients. It’s a problem, Denison believes, is likely the result of the DOL putting politics before its duties in order to make a point.

“They are acting in a political stance,” Denison noted. “They are putting politics before their bureaucratic duties.”

A source for TheDCNF agrees, noting that the case only found that the DOL lacked authority to issue formal notice-and-comment rules. However, it did not prohibit the DOL from complying with its statutory role of consulting with USCIS on H-2B petitions which it did for nearly 60 years prior to the 2008 rule. Additionally the ruling did not require nor intend that the H-2B program be shut down.

When asked, the DOL directed TheDCNF to its Office of Foreign Labor Certification page.

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