Leading immigrants’ rights group slams Senate Appropriations Committee for blocking funds earmarked for implementation of new H-2B rules
The Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday, June 14, voted to block funds that the DOL had earmarked to implement its new rules for an H-2B guestworker program.
The 2012 H-2B Final Rule would have revised the temporary labor certification application requirements for employers who want to hire workers in H-2B status. The effective date of that rule was to be April 23, 2012, with an operative date of April 27, 2012. However, on April 16, a lawsuit was filed that challenged the final rule (Bayou Lawn & Landscape Services, et al v Solis, 3:12-cv-00183-MCR-CJK), and sought an injunction barring implementation of the rule. The lawsuit contended that the DOL lacked the authority to issue the final rule, and that the rule itself violated both the Administrative Procedure Act and the Regulatory Flexibility Act.
Three days later, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida issued an order temporarily enjoining the DOL from implementing or enforcing the final rule pending adjudication of the claims.
The committee’s vote essentially ends the chance that the reforms contained in the rule will be enacted. The vote brought swift condemnation from Saket Soni, the Executive Director of the National Guestworker Alliance. Soni called the vote a “disgrace” that will adversely impact “guestworkers, struggling U.S. workers, and small businesses that play by the rules.” He argued that “corporations and their lobbyists have been desperate to block the Department of Labor’s new H-2B rules.”
Soni expressed the belief that the rule will eventually be implemented, but cautioned that the Senate’s failure to fund implementation of it “will hurt small businesses who play by the rules, rather than abusing the H-2B program to turn a profit.”