May 21 2015

Washington, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) spoke on the Senate floor expressing his frustration with the Department of Homeland Security’s unresponsiveness as North Carolina seafood companies have been unable to obtain enough H-2B workers to keep their processing facilities operational while on the brink of peak season. In addition to penning a bipartisan letter to DHS, Senator Tillis has actively reached out to the Administration for several weeks seeking an explanation as to why the cap for H-2B visas was reached unusually sooner than in previous years.

The H-2B crisis will lead to the damage of coastal small businesses and local economies, and is already being felt by North Carolina seafood processors as they prepare for the season without workers. Seafood processors in North Carolina and other coastal states depend on the H-2B program to sustain their businesses and the current crisis they face is not only inexplicable, but avoidable.

“We literally have jobs that have been created by people like Don Cross and his brother in Grantsboro, North Carolina, and they simply can't find workers to do those jobs. It's going to ruin their business and it's unacceptable. These are jobs these folks have created that can't be filled.

“I think DHS is playing games with the numbers and I demand answers. DHS seems eager to help the illegal [immigrant] population get acclimated but doesn’t seem to place a priority on American businesses that need these people to come and work in our seafood processing facilities – not only in North Carolina like Don Cross' packing company but packing companies across the coast.”