Analysis: Industries Importing Foreign H-2B Visa Workers Steal $1.8 Billion in Wages Since 2000

Employers in industries that hired most foreign H-2B visa workers for nonagricultural jobs over the last two decades have stolen about $1.8 billion in wages, a new analysis reveals.

Every year, businesses in the landscaping, conservation, meatpacking, construction, and fishing industries are allowed to import tens of thousands of foreign H-2B visa workers to take blue-collar American jobs. In recent years, the federal government has routinely increased the number of foreign H-2B visa workers allowed to enter the United States labor market.

As a result, these blue-collar industries have seen stagnant and depressed wages.

Now, a new analysis by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reveals that the top H-2B visa industries have stolen about $1.8 billion in wages from employees from 2000 to 2021:

Data from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services shows that there were nearly 117,000 H-2B workers in 2021, and the program is projected to grow to more than 150,000 workers in 2022, a new high. [Emphasis added]

Why does that matter? Because as this growth occurs, migrant workers with H-2B visas are being employed in industries in which there is extensive wage theft and lawbreaking by employers. [Emphasis added]

Data from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) show that, in the seven major industries in which nearly all H-2B workers are employed, nearly $1.8 billion in wages was stolen from workers (which includes both U.S. and migrant workers) between 2000 and 2021. [Emphasis added]

In landscaping services, H-2B visa employers stole more than $60 million in wages from employees over the last two decades. In the construction industry, where Americans have been replaced by imported H-2B foreign visa workers, nearly $850 million in wages have been stolen by employers since 2000.

Chart via Economic Policy Institute

In meatpacking, which has become an increasingly volatile industry preferring to hire lower-wage foreign visa workers over Americans, employees have stolen more than $654 million in wages from 2000 to 2021.

Despite overwhelming evidence of fraud and abuse, President Joe Biden’s administration has repeatedly increased the number of foreign H-2B visa workers that can be imported by U.S. employers.

In July, Biden bragged about importing a “record” number of foreign visa workers to compete against working and middle class Americans for jobs.

“Last year, my administration set a record — we issued more than 300,000 H-2 visas for Mexican workers,” Biden said. “We also reached a five-year high in the visas we issued to Central Americans, and we’re on pace to double this.”

Republicans, beholden to business interests in Washington, D.C., have advocated and voted to increase the number of foreign H-2B visa workers brought to the U.S.

Last month, Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD) urged Biden to import more foreign H-2B visa workers to take American jobs, saying, “We need lots of them in South Dakota and we can never get enough from the administration.”

Annually, the U.S. rewards 1.2 million legal immigrants with green cards while 1.5 million foreign nationals are given temporary work visas. Millions more, every few years, arrive in the U.S. as illegal aliens in the hopes to avoid deportation and take jobs.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at Follow him on Twitter here.


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