Dorchester County Crab Houses Owners: "The Lottery System Is Not - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Dorchester County Crab Houses Owners: "The Lottery System is Not What we Need"

Posted: May 29, 2018 6:57 PM Updated:


FISHING CREEK, Md.- The crab industry in Dorchester County, Maryland is hopeful but well aware that the possibility their migrant workers will return anytime soon is still up in the air.

Crab house owners are seeing a light in the end of the tunnel after Homeland Security announced they will release 15,000 more H2-B  visas this upcoming Thursday. But the good news is not enough to ease away Harry Phillips fears.

"The scary thing is the lottery," says Phillips, who owns Russell Hall Seafood in Fishing Creek. "It's a gamble. We have a chance just like everyone other company has a chance and it just depends on who the computer picks out"

A scary idea when what's in line is the livelihood of a whole community.

With the lottery system all industries that need temporary foreign workers in the US compete for a set amount of H2-B visas. So there's no guarantee that Dorchester County's crab houses will receive the visas they desperately need. 

 "We need the real bad, I mean, who else is gonna do this job? This is dying industry if we don't keep this program working," said Phillips. 

And he's not the only one who feels the same way. Just a few miles away, in Lindy's Seafood in Woolford, owner Audrey Vincent hopes a permanent answer comes soon.

"There's a lot of us that might not still get our workers and chances are this might be the last opportunity that we will have for the season," she says.  "I don't think it's a solution I don't think it's what we wanted but I do think it's a temporary stop gap and hopefully it's just a step along the way of getting this problem solved," she added.

For now, now all Vincent and Phillips can do is to wait and prepare their applications for when the system opens up again on Thursday.



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