My goal in this blog is to keep my fellow small business owners informed on the progress of the Temporary non-immigrant work program known as H2A and H2B Visas. I will also do my best to keep up with immigration news, issues and concerns as best I can and report that information back to you (along with the source documents for you to look at for yourselves).
I realize many are arguing, and rightfully so, that the H2B issue is not an immigration issue – it is a small business issue. I completely agree with that sentiment, however, our government has placed it under the category of “immigration” so - with eyes wide open – watching, pen poised and reporting back to you. Let’s see where this takes us – shall we.
I want to start with a bit of information on the current Administrations view on the issue.
“And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system -– to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation.” The preceding statement is from President Obama’s State of the Union Address – given on January 27, 2010. His speech was approximately 7400 words – and he devoted 39 of those words to “our broken immigration system”. By my calculations, that doesn’t rank up there very high on the concern meter.
Just for grins and giggles and with no pre-conceived expectations whatsoever; I decided to go back and look at his 1st State Of The Union Address (from 2/24/2009). The Address was around 5900 words, but really – what I wanted to know was, did he mention immigration. I remember that February 2009 Address; because he said 95% of working families would be getting a tax cut and his words were, “and these checks are on the way”. Excitedly, I ran out to my mailbox – certain I would find my check – it wasn’t there. I called my friends, to see if they had gotten their checks. Nope, they had not gotten one either. I guess we weren’t in the 95%.
He also mentioned Joe – you remember Joe the Plumber – from the Presidential debates back in October of 2008. Well, here we are the Address of February of 2009 and the President hasn’t forgotten Joe. He talked about his recovery plan – and that Vice President Biden would be tasked to “lead a tough, unprecedented oversight effort – because nobody messes with Joe.” I’m not certain, but I think the Presidential election probably helped Joe out, because I checked out his web site and the debate generated 369,518 hits on his web site, over 600 phone calls and 900 emails – not to mention 5 television appearances 6 radio interviews and made the front page of his Newspaper – not once, but twice. I sure wouldn't have minded being Joe.
Sorry, my first Blog and I digressed. Back to immigration as discussed in the Presidents 2/24/2009 Address – nope – nothing, wasn’t there.
As far as I can tell, Immigration (comprehensive, piecemeal, or in any other form) is not currently on the radar. Really, why would it be? It is a very polarizing topic. I would guess its being worked, but in backrooms and behind closed doors. So – I hope you are still discussing it with your U.S. Representatives and U.S. Senators. Somewhere, someplace, it is still alive - we just have to keep searching so we can be a part of the debate folks.
My plan over the next week is to research what the above means to the H2 program user. For both the agricultural and non-agricultural employer; I hope to have that up for you by Monday, 2/8/10 – so check back or subscribe – then you’ll know when it’s up. After all, it’s sure to be the water-cooler discussion of the week! ;) -Lori