Senator urges increase of seasonal visas to support Virginia’s seafood industry

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FILE – In this Wednesday, July 8, 2015 file photo, herring are unloaded from a fishing boat in Rockland, Maine. A study published Tuesday, June 11, 2019 finds a warmer world may lose a billion tons of fish and other marine life by the end of the century. The international study used computer models to project that for every degree Celsius the world warms, the total weight of life in the oceans drop by 5%. (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty, File)

(WAVY) — A Virginia senator joined 188 colleagues addressing the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase the cap on temporary, non-agricultural visas given out in 2020.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) believes the increase is vital to ensuring small, seasonal employers across Virginia can sustain their businesses. Sen. Warner used the seafood industry as the main example of the importance of increased allocation of the H-2B visas.

He believes it is critical for the family-owned seafood businesses, adding that it guarantees a labor force they would need during peak seasons.

“Without immediate and meaningful H-2B cap relief, seasonal businesses will be forced to scale back operations, cancel or default on contracts, lay off full-time U.S. workers and, in some cases, close operations completely,” 

Mark Warner | Democratic Virginia Senator

Other Virginia senators that signed off on the letter include U.S. Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA), Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Abigail Spanberger (D-VA), and Jennifer Wexton (D-VA).

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