The huge 36 percent H-2A visa increase during the first three months of 2017 from the same period in 2016 has short- and long-term consequences not only on the labor market, but also on population growth.
Supposedly, the H-2A is a temporary visa, but as the old saying goes among immigration enforcement advocates, nothing is more permanent than a temporary visa holder.
|State Department must crack down on flagrant visa overstays.|
The arguments against the H-2A are well-known. Instead of raising wages to attract American workers, the visa allows employers to import cheap labor. Because the visa’s terms don’t allow the workers to switch jobs, their employment is a form of indentured servitude, and makes the employees vulnerable to physical and financial abuse. Read the compelling BuzzFeed story titled “All you Americans Are Fired” that details the exploitation.
Because of the H-2A, growers are big winners, and unskilled American laborers are the losers. But also on the losing end of more visa holders entering the U.S. are Americans concerned about the nation’s ever-growing population. Too few temporary workers or visitors return home.
A recent Department of Homeland Security report found that of 54 million visitors, nearly three-quarters of a million people, 739,540, overstayed their visas, and immediately became illegal aliens. Less than one percent of the overstay cases are investigated which means that students, tourist or H-2A ag workers have little need to fear eventual apprehension and removal.
In 2016, more than 725,000 foreign-born nationals effectively became permanent residents but without that official legal immigrant status. Most of them will work illegally, will marry and have American-citizen children that will anchor them to the existing population base. Added to the one million legal immigrants that arrive annually and also raise families, overstays create more unsustainable population growth.