Shrimpers hoping for relief from foreign worker shortage

Rio Grande Valley shrimpers, faced with a crippling shortage of foreign workers due to Congress’ failure to renew the H-2B Returning Worker Program, may have a glimmer of hope in the federal spending bill signed into law May 5. The bill contains language authorizing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to raise the cap on the number of foreign workers with H-2B visas. U.S. companies can hire in fiscal year 2017 from 66,000 (33,000 for each half of the fiscal year) to nearly 130,000. The question is whether Homeland Security will follow through and raise the cap, and how soon. Andrea Hance, executive director of the Texas Shrimp Association, said owners of shrimp fleets and processing plants on the Texas coast are in desperate straits for want of workers, with the Texas shrimp season set to reopen in mid-July, she said. click here to read the story 12:48