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Final push for H-2B reform for 2019 season

February 20, 2019 -  By
Headshot: Andrew Bray

Andrew Bray

On Jan. 25, Congress and the president reached an agreement to reopen the government for 21 days. During that time, negotiations are expected to intensify around wall funding in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) fiscal year 2019 spending package. The DHS spending package is also the legislation where we are seeking H-2B visa cap relief for temporary/seasonal employees.

As legislators debate wall funding and other controversial DHS-related issues, the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) is pushing the narrative that this is a bipartisan issue. It will have drastic economic impacts on the landscape industry and its constituents if action is not taken during this three-week negotiation period, set to expire Feb. 15. This is likely the best opportunity to ensure substantial relief for the 2019 season. All current signals are pointing toward some compromise in the DHS appropriations, which may include temporary H-2B cap relief, followed by a broader discussion later this year about more substantive and permanent reforms that NALP has been seeking.

In January, nearly 100 NALP members descended on Capitol Hill to lobby for H-2B reform. During the visits, members were urging bipartisan support and raising the awareness of the dire situation. Following the fly-in, a letter urging H-2B cap relief was sent to congressional leadership with signatures from a bipartisan group of 31 senators and 98 representatives, which demonstrates strong support for the inclusion of some immediate H-2B cap relief.

NALP continues to pressure law makers for relief, and is working with the Department of Labor and DHS on processing issues. If you have been impacted during processing, please contact me at andrew@landscapeprofessionals.org.

Editor’s note: This article was published on Feb. 4. This remains a fluid situation. Please contact the NALP government relations team for updates.

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