WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Madeleine Z. Bordallo last Wednesday wrote to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Leon Rodriguez to urge him to provide immediate regulatory relief to address the continued H-2B challenges in Guam. Bordallo reiterated her concern that the high rates of H-2B renewal denials are impacting Guam’s workforce and will adversely affect Guam’s construction and health industries, among others, including ongoing and future projects related to the military build-up and associated civilian infrastructure projects.
Bordallo has worked to address these challenges through federal legislation but believes that immediate action by USCIS is required to ensure that Guam continues to have an adequate workforce to meet current and future demand for labor. She underscored that language that she included in the House-passed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 should indicate Congressional intent for the H-2B program on Guam moving forward, and urged Director Rodriguez to use regulatory authority to defer action on H-2B cases on Guam. She noted that stopping projects because of a lack of a qualified workforce from the denial of H-2B visas could negatively impact the realignment of Marines to Guam as well as jeopardize local civilian infrastructure projects.
“I am deeply concerned by the continued denials of H-2B visas in Guam and the adverse impact they are having on our community. While I have appreciated the dialogue I have had with USCIS to address this issue, more needs to be done administratively to ensure we continue to have a viable workforce that is able to meet current labor demands. I am especially concerned by recent news that Core Tech will be sending nearly 400 workers back to their country because of denials of their visa renewals as well as by Guam Department of Labor’s estimate that less than 100 H-visa workers will be in Guam at the end of the year.
“I continue to work to resolve this matter both administratively and through legislation, and I have urged USCIS Director Rodriguez to defer action or to provide continued employment authorization on H-2B visas on Guam in order to provide temporary relief until language I included in the House-passed NDAA is enacted into law. I believe this is an appropriate step that will provide some immediate relief to local businesses and ensure we have an adequate workforce present on Guam.” (PR)