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H-2B Labor Relief Starts with the Carnivals Are Real Entertainment Act (CARE Act H.R. 1787)
Labor relief for the carnival industry begins with contacting your member of congress
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Labor shortage is the top challenge faced by the carnival and mobile entertainment industry.  For years, many carnivals and food concessionaires have relied on a mix of domestic workers and temporary foreign labor through the H-2B visa program.  Due to high demands for H-2B visas and an outdated cap, the last few years have been challenging for those in the industry to obtain workers on time, or, at all, making it extremely difficult for carnivals to plan for their upcoming season. 

The Outdoor Amusement Business Association and other H-2B advocacy groups have proposed a solution to the problem called the Carnivals Are Real Entertainment Act, otherwise known as the CARE Act (H.R. 1787).  


Summary of the CARE Act

  • The Carnivals are Real Entertainment Act – or the CARE Act – helps this unique and threatened industry address the labor shortage issue by correcting and clarifying existing laws that currently exclude mobile entertainment employers from utilizing the P nonimmigrant visa classification to secure the temporary seasonal staff they need to survive.

  • While the P1 visa classification is available for foreign national entertainers coming to the U.S. temporarily, it historically has also been available to essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P1 entertainment. The P-visa structure, intent and practical application conforms well with the outdoor mobile entertainment industry well and the CARE Act makes a simply adjust to clarify that the of performing functions that are integral and essential to the operation of a mobile entertainment provider.

  • The CARE Act clarifies that mobile entertainment employees are indeed essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P1 entertainment.

  • This new category is extremely restrictive and limited to carnivals or circuses that travel around the United States on a temporary or seasonal basis;

  • P-4 applies to providers of services normally affiliated with carnivals or circuses that travel around the United States on a seasonal or temporary basis to provide services to State, county, and local fairs and festivals, or support events sponsored by not-for-profit organizations for fundraising.

Why the CARE Act Makes Sense

  • The existing framework and intention of the P-Visa Category fits the outdoor mobile entertainment industry perfectly and does not require the creation of a new visa program;

  • Adding a P-4 category that includes the mobile entertainment industry removes approximately 10,000 traditional H-2B visas allowing them to be utilized by others who require H-2B employees;

  • The annual need for H-2B visas – as reported by the Department of Labor's certified need – is grossly unmet despite limited cap relief provided by Congress;

  • Without a reliable and legal workforce, carnivals and those industries they support will not be able to operate. For instance, Fairs all across America rely upon the mobile entertainment industry to generate revenues that sustain agriculture programs all across the country; and

  • The CARE Act incorporates restrictive language that Congress has enacted in the H-2B program every year since FY17 – requiring certification that sufficient U.S. workers are not available AND the employment of such individuals will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of workers in the United States similarly employed.

Background on the P-Visa and the CARE Act

The P nonimmigrant visa (NIV) classification was created by the Immigration Act of 1990, Public Law 101-649 of November 29, 1990, specifically to provide for certain athletes, entertainers, and artists who are coming to perform in the United States. To work for a P-1, P-2, or P-3 visa recipient in the U.S., an applicant must be coming to the United States to perform essential support services that cannot be readily performed by a US worker and is an indispensable part of the performance of services to be performed. Historically, P-1 thru P-3 visa applicants came to the U.S. for a temporary purpose such as a festival or to tour and so forth.

The “P” visa currently covers foreign nationals who are entertainers and artists coming to the U.S. to participate in a culturally unique program and many circus performers come to the U.S. under the P-1 visa.

While the P1 visa classification is available for foreign national entertainers coming to the U.S. temporarily, it historically has also been available to essential support personnel who are an integral part of the performance of a P1 entertainment. As such, the P-visa structure, intent and practical application conforms well with the
outdoor mobile entertainment industry well.



Carnival & Concession Owners, Fairs & Events, Manufacturers and Suppliers:  What You Need to Do

Labor shortages will affect the entire industry.  If you are a fair or event, labor shortages at your carnival can affect the number of rides provided as well as day-to-day operations.  In some extreme cases, it could result in the carnival not being able to fulfill their contract with your event.  Manufacturers and suppliers are also affected by the overall strength of the industry.  In uncertain times, owners are often less motivated to make major purchases or investments.

Everyone in the industry needs to reach out to their member of congress and ask them to support the CARE Act (H.R. 1787).  

For a complete guide along with sample email/correspondence that you can use when contacting your congressman, click here.

CARE ACT GUIDE

Identify and Know Your Congressman
If you do not know who your Member of Congress is, visit the find your representative website by clicking here. This website will provide you with the name and contact information of your representative. You will want to collect the number for the representative's Washington, DC Office. You should do a little research on your congressman. Find out what committees he or she is on. If they serve on the House Judiciary Committee, that is the Committee that will consider this legislation.

Research the Legislation
Typically, understanding the legislation you are calling about is critical. In this case, you live the problem each and every day, but its still important to understand what the Carnivals Are Real Entertainment (CARE) Act actually does. We have done that homework for you and you will find talking points and details about the legislation in this document. For information on the CARE Act, simply click here.


Review the talking points, understand the details of the legislation, its impact on the industry, and why it is important to you.


Make the Contact!
You have the name of your representative, you know the bill, now you are ready to make the call. We will suggest a few techniques for making this contact, and would recommend that you follow all three methods to ensure that your point gets across.

There is one more item of research to complete BEFORE you make the call – you want to make sure that your Representative is NOT ALREADY A SPONSOR OF THE BILL. The easiest way to do that is to click here and make sure his/her name is not already on the legislation. If there are not listed, please call the office.

A few steps when you call:

  1. You will most likely get the most junior person on the Representative's staff answering the phone.

  2. When they answer, its important to say your name, the name of your business and the fact that you are a constituent.
    1. Start by asking who on the Congressman's staff handles Judiciary Committee and/or visa matters. Ask to speak to that person.
    2. Get the correct spelling of that person's name, and their title.

  3. If you have the opportunity to talk to the staff member at this point, make sure you are prepared for the opportunity.
    1. Explain your business briefly. How long you have been in business, how many generations. If you are a fair – explain your connectivity to the carnival industry. If you are a supplier/manufacturer partner to the mobile entertainment industry, explain your connectivity to the carnival industry. Try to make a connection with the Congressman or staffer.

    2. Explain that you are calling about the Carnivals Are Real Entertainment (CARE) Act and briefly explain the reason for the bill, what the bill does, and how this will help your family business.

    3. Make the ask
      1. This is the most important part of the conversation – ask the staffer if the Congressman would please review the bill, call you back with any questions, and cosponsor the legislation immediately.
      2. Explain that the bill number is H.R. 1787
        1.  If your Congressman is a Democrat – please tell them to call Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren's office and ask to be added to HR 1787.
          They should reach out to Arlet in her office. Arlet's contact information is: Arlet Abrahamian, Senior Legislative Counsel - 202-225-3072

        2. If your Congressman is a Republican – please tell them to call Congresswoman Maria Salazar's office and ask to be added to HR 1787. They should reach out to John Mark in her office. John Mark's contact information is: John Mark Kolb, Deputy Chief of Staff - 202-225-3931

    4. Closing
      1. Thank then for their time and consideration
      2. Explain that you would like to follow up and ask for their e-mail address.
      3. Send a quick note to HBS with a few details of the conversation for potential follow-up by your federal team. Include the name of the staffer and any sense of support or opposition to the bill.
      4. Send comments to John Ariale at jariale@hbstrategies.us  and/or Rocky Fox at wfox@hbstrategies.us .
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