Jun 5 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following weeks of pressure from Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and a bipartisan group of Senators, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) finally relented and announced the release of an additional 3,000-5,000 H-2B visas, which are vital to the survival of North Carolina’s seafood industry.

Senator Tillis repeatedly called on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to explain why the H-2B visa cap was reached so soon in comparison to previous years, and called on DHS to conduct an audit to determine whether the correct number of H-2B visas was issued.

Last week, Tillis toured Pamlico Packing Company in Grantsboro, where he personally met with North Carolina seafood business owners who have been struggling as a result of DHS’ error in failing to provide H-2B visas during the seafood industry’s peak season.

“Today's announcement that USCIS will release additional H-2B visas for our seasonal workers is the result of an extensive bipartisan effort to ensure our coastal seafood industry remains open for business and that American jobs that sustain the industry will not suffer,” said Senator Tillis. “While it's unfortunate that many North Carolina seafood businesses will be getting a later start to their season than normal as result of the H-2B crisis, today's announcement will lessen the risk that these hardworking businesses will be forced to close their doors, and will also lessen the overall economic toll on our coastal communities. After months of pressure from my office, I am glad that DHS has finally heeded our calls to help protect North Carolina's small businesses and workers.”