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5/15/2018 4:25 pm  #1

Trump-voting crab town left shell-shocked by visa changes

"They're rapists. They're bringing drugs,,,,,"

Trump-voting crab town left shell-shocked by his visa changes

New restrictions on a program that allowed seasonal foreign workers to enter the U.S. are devastating Hoopers Island, Maryland.

HOOPERS ISLAND, Md. — This community voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump. But now his immigration restrictions are killing its livelihood — legendary crabs that are a mainstay of the local economy and a regional delicacy.

For decades, Hoopers Island, known for its crabbing industry, has relied on a federal seasonal work program — known as H-2B visas — to keep its businesses humming. This has allowed employers to hire foreigners, mostly Mexican women, to come temporarily to pick crab meat.

But this year, the Trump administration's cap on H-2B visas — and a shift from the first-come, first-served based model to a lottery system that has disadvantaged Hoopers Island seasonal workers — has left the island without 40 percent of the visas they have needed in the past."Right now, we're shut down," said Morgan Tolley, manager of A.E. Phillips and Sons Seafood. "We're in self-preservation mode."

Just two miles away, in what should be the start of the peak season, Harry Phillips, owner of Russell Hall Seafood, stands in an empty picking room once filled with the women he's had working for him for over 25 years.

"We can't operate the way we're going," Phillips told NBC News. "I've had to let truck drivers go. I don't need truck drivers if I don't have the product. It's going to affect us to the point where we may have to totally close."

"(President Trump's) vow was to create American jobs, but this is not creating American jobs,” Phillips added.

In 2016, Trump won easily in Dorchester County, which includes all of Hoopers Island, largely based off of his pledge to help small businesses.

Capt. Larry "Boo" Powley, a fifth-generation fisherman who makes his living catching bait for crabs, pulls his boat into Russell Hall and says his small business is hurting. At a time when he would usually bring in roughly 300 boxes of crab bait, he's been limited to just 100 boxes a day.

"The more demand that there is for bait, the better I do," Powley said. "Right now, there's no demand because they can't handle the crabs because they have no pickers. And it's really hurting us right now."

"How would you like to be in business for 30 years and they tell you, 'Well, we're going to pick out of a hat if you're going to run your business or not?' How do people stay in business? Does Washington not get it? You've got to have workers," Powley said.

Please God, help me become the kind of Christian that Paul Ryan would fire.

5/15/2018 4:33 pm  #2

Re: Trump-voting crab town left shell-shocked by visa changes

Don't worry about your labor costs, Hoopers Island.
If Crab cakes get too expensive this summer I'll just switch to lobster roll.

Please God, help me become the kind of Christian that Paul Ryan would fire.
     Thread Starter

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