Governor Larry Hogan sent a letter to the Trump administration Tuesday advocating for more H-2B visas in response to labor shortages in Maryland’s seafood industry. He estimates that another year of unaddressed shortages could permanently damage the industry.
In his letter, Governor Hogan asked the Acting Homeland Security Secretary and the Secretary of Labor to help create a long-term solution to the problem that threatens the State’s $355 million industry.
From coverage by WMAR:
In a typical year, 500 H-2B seasonal workers are needed for Maryland’s 20 licensed crab picking houses, the governor said. The number of H-2B visas is now capped at 66,000 nationally.
Last year, the federal government allowed an additional 30,000 visas through the program, after a 2018 decision to limit the number.
U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat, said Maryland’s federal delegation has repeatedly pushed President Donald Trump’s administration to release more H-2B visas. Van Hollen said he has visited crab houses on Maryland’s Eastern Shore and seen first-hand “the dire need for these employees.”
From the letter:
“These workers are vital to rural Maryland and in particular our Eastern Shore. In addition to lifting the cap, I ask that you partner with Congress and Maryland’s congressional delegation to finally find a long-term solution to this issue”