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H-2B Update - DeFazio, Merkley Fight to Protect American Workers

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Congressman Peter DeFazio and Senator Jeff Merkley have joined forces to fight a lawsuit that would prevent the Department of Labor (DOL) from closing foreign worker visa loopholes to protect American workers.

DeFazio and Merkley successfully fought for stronger DOL rules to protect American workers and taxpayer dollars. In February, DOL took steps to close loopholes in the visa system that allowed companies to win federal contracts by hiring low wage foreign workers over out-of-work Oregonians. However, in April a Florida landscaping company and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit to halt the reforms. The lawsuit claims that DOL does not have the authority to close these loopholes despite the fact that DOL has been issuing visa rules for 60 years.

DeFazio and Merkley filed an amicus brief, a formal document, which explains to the court that Congress has given clear authority to DOL to close these loopholes.

"It is obscene that U.S. companies who abused legal loopholes to squeeze greater profits out of federal contracts are using our legal system to block reforms that protect American workers. I will continue to fight this frivolous lawsuit, protect jobs here at home, and fix these loopholes. It's the right thing to do for taxpayers and it's the right thing to do for American workers," said DeFazio.

"We need to end these abuses so the Oregonians who deserve these jobs, get them," said Merkley. "I'm pleased to join forces with Congressman DeFazio to fight this lawsuit and make sure that we end the practice of hiring foreign forest workers over Oregonians."

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