Presidential Proclamation 10014 and its subsequent amendment bans nonimmigrant H-2B guest workers from entering the United States through December 31, 2020. The ban includes forestry and conservation workers who are essential to sustainable forest management and the operation of the forest sector which was designated as “Critical Infrastructure” by the Department of Homeland Security at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The forest sector relies on H-2B workers to collect seeds and sow them at nurseries, plant trees, perform wildfire fuel reduction treatments, manage forest vegetation, and other forest management manual labor. Work by H-2B workers is critical to long-term forest sustainability, rural economies, production of domestic wood supply and manufacturing of everyday products.
We urge the State Department to add forestry related services to the National Interest Exceptions to the Presidential Proclamation suspending the entry of nonimmigrants to the United States.
Note: The following quantifies how the H-2B Guest Worker Ban will impact the forestry sector. Data reflected the findings of three independent surveys of contractors and forest landowners conducted from July 15-17, 2020 by the Forest Resources Association, the Forest Landowners Association, and the National Alliance of Forest Owners. Multiple data sets were used to confirm findings and the data represented here does not include duplicates.