skip to main content

S. 2616 (108th): Emergency Relief for Rural Borderlands Act

The text of the bill below is as of Jul 7, 2004 (Introduced).


S 2616 IS

108th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2616

To increase the availability of H-2B nonimmigrant visas during fiscal year 2004 for rural border areas, and for other purposes.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

July 7, 2004

Mr. COLEMAN introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To increase the availability of H-2B nonimmigrant visas during fiscal year 2004 for rural border areas, and for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Emergency Relief for Rural Borderlands Act’.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:

      (1) The laws of the United States that govern labor-based immigration require employers to give United States workers priority for employment over foreign workers.

      (2) Many employers have found themselves unable to hire United States citizens for certain positions, particularly for temporary, seasonal employment.

      (3) Due to the historic availability of H-2B visas, many employers have developed business models based on an assumption that businesses will be able to hire temporary seasonal workers who are aliens.

      (4) During fiscal year 2004, the date on which no more H-2B visas could be issued because the maximum number of such visas available for such fiscal year had been issued was earlier than the date such maximum number had been reached during any prior fiscal year.

      (5) As a result of the maximum of H-2B visas being issued prior to the end of fiscal year 2004, many employers face an urgent shortage of workers that threatens to seriously erode the current and future revenues of the employers’ businesses.

      (6) It is particularly difficult for employers located in rural areas to attract workers and such employers have often relied on foreign workers.

      (7) An employer located near an international border has a smaller radius for recruiting United States workers than an employer located more centrally, which can create difficulties in finding United States workers to fill vacant positions.

      (8) Large employers located in rural areas are invaluable to the communities in which such employees are located, and a disruption in the business of such employers is devastating for such communities facing challenging economic conditions.

SEC. 3. ADDITIONAL H-2B VISA ENTRANTS FOR FISCAL YEAR 2004.

    (a) IN GENERAL- During fiscal year 2004, an alien who is issued a visa under section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b)) may not be counted toward the numerical limitation set out in section 214(g)(1)(B) of such Act (8 U.S.C. 1184(g)(1)(B)) if such alien is providing temporary service or labor in the United States--

      (1) at a work site that is located--

        (A) in a rural area; and

        (B) not more than 50 miles from an international border; and

      (2) for an employer that has hired aliens who received visas under such section 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b) during not less than 2 of the fiscal years between fiscal years 1999 and 2003.

    (b) EXPEDITED VISA PROCESSING- During fiscal year 2004, a petition for a nonimmigrant visa submitted by an alien who intends to provide temporary service or labor that meets the requirements of paragraphs (1) and (2) of subsection (a) shall be processed not more than 30 days after the date of the submission of such petition.

SEC. 4. RURAL AREA DEFINED.

    In this Act, the term ‘rural area’ has the meaning given that term in section 343(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)).

SEC. 5. EFFECTIVE DATE.

    Section 3(a) of this Act shall take effect as if enacted on September 30, 2003.