Letter to the Editor, ‘Regarding the H-2B Visas’

At Rippons Bros. Seafood, we pride ourselves on providing Maryland with delicious and affordable seafood. But as the busy summer season draws closer, our business is threatened by a severe shortage of American labor and a cap on the number of H-2B seasonal worker visas.

The federal H-2B program allows businesses to hire seasonal workers when they cannot find American workers to fill their vacancies. At Rippons Bros. Seafood, we never receive enough American applicants, despite posting ads everywhere and offering competitive wages. These seasonal workers pay federal, state, and local taxes, and they return home at the end of the season.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has capped the number of H-2B visas available nationwide at 33,000 — far fewer than the 81,000 visas requested. If Homeland Security doesn’t issue more visas, Rippons Bros. Seafood may be forced to increase prices, turn away business, lay off permanent American workers, or close our doors for good.

Thankfully, Congressman Andy Harris is a strong ally for businesses who depend on seasonal labor. Because of Congressman Harris, Homeland Security is planning to issue 15,000 more visas this year. These extra visas won’t fully accommodate labor demands, but the season isn’t over yet.

We at Rippons Bros. Seafood are grateful to have Congressman Harris working for H-2B employers, and we support his efforts to raise the visa caps.

Janet Rippons-Ruark
Rippons Bros. Seafood

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