ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan wants to make sure crab houses are fully stocked this season, and lawmakers are helping, too.
Senators Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen want the Trump Administration to make more H2B visas available.
This is an issue that Senators Cardin and Van Hollen have worked on extensively for years.
In January, Senator Van Hollen issued the following statement, saying:
“Together, the Maryland federal delegation has repeatedly pushed the Administration to release more H-2B visas, which are critical to Maryland’s seafood industry. I’ve visited our crab houses on the Shore and witnessed first-hand the dire need for these employees. I’m proud that last year we were successful in pushing the Administration to release more visas – after efforts from our delegation to clarify in law the Department of Homeland Security’s authority to do so. This year, we are continuing to urge the Administration to release additional visas quickly and will do everything in our power to support our local businesses and industry.”
500 seasonal workers are needed for 20 licensed crab picking houses.
The senators say without those visas, crab and oyster industries in Maryland will be forced to scale back, lay off full-time employees and maybe even shut down.
Right now, the visas are capped at 66,000 under federal law.
Crab harvest season starts in April.