Mikulski: Federal Court Ruling Critical to Jobs in Md. - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Mikulski: Federal Court Ruling Critical to Jobs in Md.

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U.S. Barbara A. Mikulski U.S. Barbara A. Mikulski
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski is applauding a decision by a U.S. District Court in Florida that she says is critical to jobs in Maryland's seafood industry. 

According to Mikulski's office, the court on Wednesday stayed its Perez v. Perez ruling, which found the Labor Department lacks the sole authority to administer the H-2B visa program. Following this stay, Mikulski has renewed her call to the Departments of Labor and Homeland Security to immediately resume processing of H-2B visa applications.

Mikulski said seasonal workers returning to the United States under H-2B visas are critical to ensuring Maryland's seafood businesses have the labor force they need during peak harvest season.

“Today's ruling is about protecting American jobs in industries that rely on H-2B visas to stay in business,” Mikulski said. “Seasonal workers here on H-2B visas save the jobs of Maryland's watermen who catch and harvest the seafood, the canneries that process it, the companies that ship it and those that sell it.”

According to Mikulski, for every one H-2B visa granted, four American jobs are created. 

In just this year alone, businesses are facing higher wages and many of them won't be able to hire the workers they need because the cap for the first half of the year was reached in January, Mikulski said.

Mikulski's call to DOL and DHS  to resume processing of H-2B visa applications follows a letter she sent with a bipartisan coalition of senators calling on the agencies to immediately coordinate and resume accepting and processing H-2B visa applications after those agencies halted the program just one day after the U.S. District Court's decision.

According to Mikulski's office, the H-2B visa program has aided Maryland's seafood industry by providing seasonal labor to help pick crab meat on the Eastern Shore. 

Seafood processors in the Chesapeake Bay are forced to rely on the H-2B program for help picking crabs and shucking oysters despite attempts to hire domestic workers, Mikulski's office said. 
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