FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 6, 2020
Spencer Tilger | | (206) 295 0606
Justice in Motion Condemns Expansion of H-2B Visa Program in Exchange for Sending Asylum Seekers to Central America
BROOKLYN, NY – Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it will raise the cap on H-2B temporary foreign work visas by 35,000 beginning April 2020. The move will earmark 10,000 of the new visas for citizens of Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, fulfilling a previous Trump administration promise to expand the program in exchange for signing “Asylum Cooperation Agreements” requiring migrants fleeing for their lives to return to Central America to apply for asylum instead of staying in the United States.
Cathleen Caron, Justice in Motion’s Executive Director, said:
“Justice in Motion strongly opposes the Trump administration’s move to dismantle the asylum system while simultaneously expanding exploitative temporary foreign work visas programs. The administration is compounding one bad policy with another. Coercing Central American governments to offer protection to their neighbors, when they cannot protect their own citizens, in exchange for an increase in temporary visas that often result in abuse and exploitation is not an equal exchange. In fact, the opposite is true. More migrants will be harmed.
“The H-2B visa program encourages a myriad of labor rights violations, including recruitment fraud, wage theft, and even human trafficking. This is the first time H-2B visas have been designated for particular countries, raising serious concerns about the political abuse of this already exploitative program. As labor and migrant advocates, Justice in Motion rejects this cynical politicking and calls for an end to the asylum cooperation agreements and a halt to the expansion of temporary foreign work visa programs.”
Justice in Motion protects migrant rights by ensuring justice across borders. Justice in Motion’s unique network of on-the-ground human rights defenders in Mexico and Central America partner with U.S. advocates to make sure that wherever migrants go, their rights will follow.