Labor Dept. Vows to "Aggressively Confront Visa Program Fraud"

By David North on June 6, 2017

The U.S. Department of Labor has issued a press release promising to fight fraud in the foreign worker programs that it helps to administer.

These are the H programs for H-1B (skilled workers), H-2A (farm workers), and H-2B (non-farm, non-skilled workers).

"We will enforce vigorously those laws, including heightened use of criminal referrals," said new Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta in the press release.

Acosta, incidentally, was President Trump's second choice for the position; he, happily, replaced the first nominee, Andy Puzder (who withdrew), a fast-food executive and a supporter of expanded foreign worker programs.

The press release says that four different segments of the department (where I worked 50 years ago) will be enlisted in the attack on visa program abuse; these include the Wage and Hour Division, the Employment and Training Administration (which manages the H programs), the Solicitor of Labor, and the Inspector General.

This is a useful development, because the previous administration's attitude toward immigration enforcement was lax, to say the least; the DoL staff is instinctively pro-worker and if allowed or encouraged to enforce the law, it will try to do so.

Acosta's promise is to use the department's resources to tackle the problems of exploited foreign workers and the displacement of U.S. workers by easy-to-abuse foreign ones. So far, so good, but the basic problem (unmentioned in the statement) is that there are only about 1,000 wage-hour investigators in the country, as opposed to about 25,000 Border Patrol agents.

If Acosta can get some more investigators funded by the administration's budget people, he will really be able to make a difference.