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< Back to current issue of Immigration Daily

[Federal Register: September 29, 2011 (Volume 76, Number 189)]
[Notices]               
[Page 60518-60519]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr29se11-111]                         

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

 
Notice of Discontinuation of H-2A and H-2B Temporary Worker Visa 
Exit Program Pilot CBP Dec. 11-16

AGENCY: U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Department of Homeland 
Security.

ACTION: General notice; discontinuation of program pilot.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: This Notice announces that CBP is discontinuing the H-2A and 
H-2B Temporary Worker Visa Exit Program Pilot, effective September 29, 
2011. The pilot began on December 8, 2009. It required temporary 
workers in H-2A or H-2B nonimmigrant classifications who enter the 
United States at the port of San Luis, Arizona, or the port of Douglas, 
Arizona, to depart (at the time of their final departure) from these 
respective ports and to submit certain biographical and biometric 
information at one of the kiosks established for this purpose.

DATES: The program pilot will be discontinued on September 29, 2011.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Erin M. McGillicuddy, Program 
Manager, Admissibility and Passenger Programs, Office of Field 
Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, via e-mail at 
erin.mcgillicuddy@dhs.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On December 18, 2008, U.S. Customs and 
Border Protection (CBP) published a notice in the Federal Register 
announcing that CBP was establishing a pilot program for a land-border 
exit system for H-2A temporary workers at certain designated ports of 
entry effective August 1, 2009.\1\ 73 FR 77049.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The H-2A nonimmigrant classification applies to aliens 
seeking to perform agricultural labor or services of a temporary or 
seasonal nature in the United States. Immigration and Nationality 
Act sec. 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a), 8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(a); see 
generally 8 CFR 214.12(h)(5)(a)(2) (describing requirements for H-2A 
classification).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The notice provided that H-2A workers who enter the United States 
at either the port of San Luis, Arizona, or the port of Douglas, 
Arizona, as participants in the Temporary Worker

[[Page 60519]]

Visa Exit Program must depart from one of those ports and submit 
certain biographical and biometric information at one of the kiosks 
established for this purpose.
    On December 19, 2008, CBP published a second notice in the Federal 
Register, ``Notice of Expansion of Temporary Worker Visa Exit Program 
Pilot to Include H-2B Temporary Workers.'' 73 FR 77817.\2\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ The H-2B nonimmigrant classification applies to foreign 
workers entering the United States to perform temporary, non-
agricultural labor or services. INA sec. 101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b), 8 
U.S.C. 1101(a)(15)(H)(ii)(b); see generally 8 CFR 214.1(a)(2)(h)(62) 
(designation for H-2B classification).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    CBP published a third notice in the Federal Register on August 25, 
2009 announcing the postponement of the commencement date of the H-2A 
and H-2B temporary Worker Visa Exit Program Pilot until December 8, 
2009. 74 FR 42909.
    The pilot has been operating for more than a year. The pilot tested 
the processes and technology used to monitor compliance and record the 
final departures of persons admitted under temporary worker visas as 
well as its general design and implementation. During this period, DHS 
gathered enough data to assess the pilot's technology, design and 
implementation and to identify lessons learned that can be applied to 
programs that may have similar requirements. The duration of the pilot 
has also allowed for the seasonal work cycle during which H-2A and H-2B 
visa holders typically enter and depart from the United States for 
agricultural or other temporary employment.
    Among the challenges that arose during the pilot were that the 
persons subject to the pilot had trouble understanding the requirements 
and using the kiosks; although the pilot was designed to be an 
automated system, considerable time and resources by CBP field 
personnel were needed to assist the pilot participants in recording 
their exit; kiosk operability was unreliable and inconsistent due in 
large part to the harsh desert climate; and, the physical layout of the 
departure area at the border crossing limited CBP's ability to ensure 
compliance. The pilot reinforced the need to gain a full understanding 
of the covered population's skill sets in order to craft effective 
public information materials and to utilize appropriate technology that 
will support a high degree of compliance. For future programs, DHS will 
seek to ensure that the physical requirements for software and hardware 
reflect the extremes that can be faced in harsh border climates. The 
pilot also demonstrated that DHS must evaluate carefully the 
considerable time and resources that may be required by field personnel 
in order to continually support and explain processes used infrequently 
by a non-immigrant population subject to a program specific to that 
population.
    Accordingly, this notice announces that the H-2A and H-2B Temporary 
Worker Visa Exit Program Pilot is being discontinued immediately. Any 
alien that is admitted on an H-2A or H-2B visa into the United States 
at the ports of San Luis, Arizona, and Douglas, Arizona, will no longer 
be subject to the requirements of the program pilot. Aliens who have 
already been admitted on an H-2A or H-2B visa to the United States at 
the ports of San Luis, Arizona and Douglas, Arizona will not be 
required to depart the United States from San Luis or Douglas and will 
not have to submit the biographical or biometric information that was 
required under the pilot program.
    Regardless of their date or place of admission to the U.S., all H-2 
workers are subject to the procedures governing H-2 nonimmigrants 
generally. H-2 workers are issued a Form I-94, Arrival/Departure 
Record, upon admission to the U.S. The form indicates the date of 
admission to the United States, the nonimmigrant classification, and 
the authorized period of admission. Once admitted to the United States, 
H-2 workers are required to comply with all terms and conditions of 
their admission and depart the United States on or before the 
expiration of the authorized period of stay unless the worker properly 
extends his or her status or changes his or her status and extends his 
or her period of authorized admission. H-2 workers must surrender the 
departure portion of the Form I-94 upon final exit from the United 
States.

    Dated: September 21, 2011.
Alan D. Bersin,
Commissioner, U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
[FR Doc. 2011-24716 Filed 9-28-11; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 9111-14-P


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