COLUMBUS, USA: AmericanHort is deeply disappointed at the House of Representatives’ failure to renew the H-2B Returning Worker Exemption, a policy that was enacted on a bipartisan basis one year ago, and would help to ensure that small and seasonal businesses in the landscape industry and beyond will have an adequate workforce for the peak spring season that is only a few months away. Now, an orderly spring 2017 is in jeopardy.
Renewing this policy is good for American small and family businesses and American workers, whose livelihood is linked to the ability of their employers to meet production peaks with legally authorized supplemental workers. For the H-2B visa holders themselves, the policy rewards good behaviour, helping to ensure that those who have obeyed our immigration laws will get back to the employers they know and trust.
Special thanks go to all the House members that signed a letter urging House leaders to do once again what they did fewer than 12 months ago. And special thanks as well to Reps. Andy Harris (R-MD), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Alcee Hastings (D-FL) for last-ditch efforts to persuade the Rules Committee to address this issue in a timely fashion. Finally, thanks to all our members and state association partners, who mobilized to send hundreds of messages and make many calls to Congress. Your perseverance will be critical as we move forward.
AmericanHort, our grassroots Lighthouse Program partners, and our dedicated members will continue efforts toward renewal of this provision, and other sensible improvements to our visa and immigration system.
The AmericanHort community includes professionals from all facets of the industry. From growers to retailers, breeders to installers, suppliers to innovators, students to researchers, and everyone in between, businesses across the horticulture industry call AmericanHort their inspiration, voice, community, success, business partner, leader, and advocate. With $163 billion of market influence and the generation of 1.15 million jobs, the horticulture industry is a key player in the global economy. AmericanHort supports businesses in their continuous growth and success with knowledge resources, staff development, in-person meetings, and government advocacy. The strength of our influence depends on the strength of our collaboration, and AmericanHort unites the industry as a major force. What we do together matters. #WWDTmatters.