NHLA, others sue DOL, DHS over H-2B policies


NHLAThe National Hispanic Landscape Alliance (NHLA) joined Bayou Lawn & Landscape Services, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, Superior Forestry and the Small and Seasonal Business Legal Center in filing a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida. The lawsuit asks the court to declare recently enacted H-2B rules illegal.

According to NHLA, the recently enacted rules regarding the H-2B visa program are illegal because the agencies did not give the public a chance to comment on them and there was no basis for making the rules immediately effective.

“This is a jobs issue on which the administration’s policies are working contrary to Congressional intent with an acutely adverse impact on Hispanic Americans,” said Ralph Egües, executive director of the NHLA. “The policies being pushed by the DOL are having a chilling effect on companies otherwise poised to grow. These businesses not only provide the seasonal jobs that too few Americans are willing to take, but they also add year-round jobs that Americans do want and that Hispanic Americans, because of their industry experience and linguistic and cultural competencies, are especially qualified to fill.”

NHLA argues that the new H-2B rules negatively affect company workforces as well as the quality of work. One company, it says, elected to shed more than 200 jobs rather than deal with H-2B regulations. The company now only installs retaining walls.

Today, U.S. Hispanics make up more than 35 percent of the landscape industry workforce, and more than 17 percent of landscape companies are owned by Hispanics, reports NHLA.

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