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Biden will let 22,000 seasonal workers apply for visas this summer in another reversal of Trump border policies

 President Joe Biden's administration announced an increase Tuesday of 22,000 visas for temporary seasonal workers who will be allowed to work in the U.S. this year as the economy recovers from the pandemic. 

His decision is a reversal of policy from former President Donald Trump, who halted the program under immigration limits set by his administration.

The Department of Homeland Security said the U.S. would approve an additional 22,000 H2-B seasonal worker visas on top of the annual limit of 66,000 set by Congress. It cited increased demand from employers, with the number of people seeking jobless benefits at the lowest point since the outbreak of COVID-19.

The H2-B visa program has bipartisan support in Congress and with businesses across the nation. It is used to fill jobs in such areas as landscaping, construction, hotels and restaurants as well as in seafood and meat processing plants and amusement parks.

Trump last year authorized an additional 35,000 H-2B visas above the annual cap. But three months later he halted the program along with other foreign worker programs under a sweeping executive order. Biden let the order expire.

President Joe Biden's administration announced an increase of 22,000 visas for temporary seasonal workers

President Joe Biden's administration announced an increase of 22,000 visas for temporary seasonal workers

Number will include 6,000 of the visas for people from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala - above asylum seekers cross into US from Mexico

Number will include 6,000 of the visas for people from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala - above asylum seekers cross into US from Mexico


Employers are required to attest that they are likely to suffer 'irreparable harm' if they do not receive workers under the program.

In announcing this year's annual supplemental increase, DHS said it would set aside 6,000 of the visas for people from the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. 

Central Americans, struggling with the pandemic, the aftermath of two hurricanes and more long-standing problems, make up a major portion of the increasing number of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. along the Southwest border.

In March, about 85,000 of the 172,000 migrants caught at the border came from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. 

Biden officials have urged migrants not to travel to the border while systems are established that allow them to seek asylum from their home countries or come to the United States through other legal pathways. 

DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the visas reflect the administration's goal of 'expanding lawful pathways for opportunity in the United States' for people from the Northern Triangle countries.

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