To Prevent Economic Collapse In Guam U.S. Must Revise H-2B Temporary Worker Visa Process

Editorial

HAGÅTÑA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, June 13, 2017) – To prevent a potential economic collapse on Guam and ensure the military buildup can proceed, the federal government needs to revise its policy that denies almost all H-2B temporary worker visas applications on Guam.

Last year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, began rejecting almost all H-2B visa applications because the federal government said Guam businesses have misused the program.

The rejection of the visas threatens the construction industry on Guam, as well as the island economy. Since the policy was put into place, the cost of building a house here has doubled. Some construction companies are rejecting requests to build homes and other residential projects, because without foreign workers, they lack the necessary labor.

And foreign workers are needed for the military buildup. They have been crucial for buildup-related projects in recent years. If local companies, using foreign labor, can’t build the new Marine Corps facilities, the Pentagon will have to bring in stateside companies for the work. It will have to pay higher wages for workers, plus travel and accommodation costs, which will drive up the price for all buildup projects.

It’s wrong to penalize the entire island, and put our economy in jeopardy, because the government suspects some Guam businesses are abusing the H-2B visa program. That doesn’t help solve the problem; it only hurts the island as a whole.

What the federal government should do is investigate the suspected companies. If it finds violations, it can and should punish the businesses that are abusing the program.

But to continue with this broad policy is wrong. It puts the military buildup on Guam, and the military realignment in the Pacific as a whole, at risk, and could severely damage the island economy.

Pacific Daily News
Copyright © 2017 Guam Pacific Daily News. All Rights Reserved

Rate this article: 
No votes yet

Add new comment