HAWAII HOUSE REPUBLICANS DISAGREE WITH FEDERAL BAN ON FILIPINO WORK VISAS
News Release fro Hawaii House Republican Caucus, January 29, 2019
HONOLULU, HI – Two members of Hawaii's House Republican Caucus are asking the Department of Homeland Security to make an exception regarding the ban on granting Filipino citizens H-2A and H-2B work visas.
Representatives Gene Ward (R-17, Hawaii Kai to Kalama Valley) and Bob McDermott (R-40, Ewa, Ewa Beach, Ewa By Gentry, Iroquois Point) issued the following statements on the matter:
"As we speak, a special meeting is taking place at the White House asking for Hawaii to be exempted from this ban," said Rep. Gene Ward. "In addition to the issue being raised to the White House, I will also be writing the Secretaries of State and Homeland Security to reconsider their decision."
"Hawaii should be a special exception due to our rich history and the role that the Filipino community has played in creating it," said Rep. Bob McDermott. "The Filipino community comprises the largest portion of our State's ethnic population, and many Filipinos utilize these visas in temporary jobs relating to agriculture, tourism, and hospitality. While I understand the valid concern on the federal level, I believe that our State could be negatively impacted if these policies are enforced across Hawaii."
- On January 18, 2019, the Department of Homeland Security announced that the Philippines is no longer on the list of countries eligible to send workers to the United States under the H-2A and H-2B federal temporary work visa programs for one year.
- The ban stems from concerns over the high rates of overstaying and human trafficking.
- The H-2B visa program allows American employers to bring foreigners to the United Sates to fill jobs that lack American workers. Unfortunately, DHS has estimated that nearly 40% of H-2B visa holders overstay their visas, adding to the number of illegal aliens in the United States.
- The original DHS report can be accessed here.