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Funding the Government, Take #5

Wednesday, January 17, 2018   (0 Comments)
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Funding the Government, Take #5The federal government’s fiscal year began on October 1, 2017, but Congress has yet to pass a spending bill to fund government for the entire fiscal year. Since October 1, Congress has passed a series of short-term measures, the latest of which is set to expire on January 19.

Lawmakers continue to draft what they hope will be just one more short-term temporary spending bill and to use the additional few weeks it provides to negotiate a spending deal for the remainder of the fiscal year. Immigration issues are at the forefront of those negotiations. We hope a year-end spending measure will include H-2B cap relief. Over 80,000 H-2B positions were requested in applications to the Labor Department within 48 hours of the beginning of the new year for employment starting April 1. However, unless something changes, there will be only 33,000 visas approved, leaving many employers in the lurch.

The crux of the negotiations, however, will revolve around some type of extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which would allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to avoid deportation. The President has said he would support some type of extension of DACA if it were coupled with border security, funding for a border wall, and a few other immigration system changes. As of January 12, talks have broken down.

Some Democrats have suggested forcing a government shutdown on January 19, unless a deal on DACA is reached before then. While we expect Congress to pass another short-term agreement before any final deal, AmericanHort is watching the debate closely. We also continue to remind lawmakers that any increased border security and immigration enforcement – and especially mandatory E-Verify -- must be coupled with serious reforms to the H-2A and H-2B visa programs and realistic solutions for the current workforce. We will keep you updated.

Brought to you by Lighthouse, an AmericanHort Program. Article by Craig Regelbrugge. Photo courtesy of AmericanHort.

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