Shawn Bradley: Conservatives can support HB-2 visas

Back on Dec. 2, our 1st District Republican Congressman Andy Harris, along with other members of the Congress, argued the importance of allowing and potentially expanding the HB-2 work visa program.

For those who don’t know, this is a program that allows working visitation to our agricultural seasonal areas from foreign countries on a seasonal basis in industries that have difficulties finding workers willing in these industries.

These industries include crop harvesting, fisheries and/ or seafood houses, as well as refineries. When the work season ends, these workers return to their families back home.

HB-2 visas are NOT permanent, but they do aid American commerce in allowing businesses to employ temporary labor force increases.

The HB-2 program is all done legally and serves to thwart hiring practices which allow undocumented labor to be employed — which is difficult to trace and unethical as an hiring practice.

HB-2 visa expansion, under the watch of the proper issuing agencies, is essential in the growth of agricultural commerce here in Maryland and across the nation. Business owners are able to keep costs down which results in lower costs of food and services.

As a conservative, I am all for controlled business costs, and this program aids in keeping payroll costs to a manageable level. It also speeds the harvesting of crops and/or harvests by having worker units at a level necessary to expedite the product to market shelves.

The cost of rotting crops to a farmer or business owner is devastating to both local business and the paying consumer.  

Under HB-2 immigration officials are able to monitor and make sure this program is just what it reads. To allow temporary workers to do the job, and then return home.

If the worker desires to live in our great land, then great! But give them the tools they need to become citizens legally, rather than to scatter and vanish and then lead lives of uncertainty and capture.

We must support Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials to enforce the security of this program so we can grow our farming industries, just as we need to grow all of our American industries.

The Republican agenda is not to snuff out foreign labor, but rather to expand business safely and legally.

Our agenda is not to stifle immigration but to embrace a legal process that benefits us all.

The Republican administration has not taken steps to interfere with this type of commerce — just so long as everyone is on the same page. Again, the key word is LEGAL.

Shawn A. Bradley is President Elect of the Wicomico County Republican Club.


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