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Workers shown in a video arriving at a Florida hotel are in the U.S. legally as part of the H-2A visa program.
The program allows employers to bring foreign nationals in to fill temporary, seasonal agricultural jobs.
Under H-2A guidelines, participating employers must show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able and willing to fill the jobs and that hiring the workers won’t adversely affect wages or conditions for similar U.S. workers.
An online video purporting to show "illegal" migrant workers being bused to a central Florida hotel prompted dozens of people to show up there to protest.
But the workers are actually in the U.S. legally as part of a program that allows companies to bring in foreign nationals to do seasonal agricultural work.
The headline of an article shared widely on Facebook reads, "Impeach Biden! Laura Loomer records hundreds of more illegals dropped off at a Florida hotel"
The article was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
The article points to a video shared on the social media site Gettr on Jan. 30 by Florida congressional candidate Laura Loomer, who said it showed "a bus of Hispanic illegal alliens (sic) being dropped off in front of an Extended Stay hotel in Maitland where they are being given pre loaded credit cards, hotel rooms, and clothing."
Dozens of protesters showed up outside the Extended Stay America hotel a day later, waving signs opposing illegal immigration and President Joe Biden, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
It turns out, they were protesting over nothing.
Dewar Nurseries, the company that hired the workers, confirmed to local NBC station WESH-2 that the people in question were part of the H2-A visa program. The company has participated in that program for years.
PolitiFact reached out via email to Dewar Nurseries, which is based in Apopka, and the Extended Stay hotel for comment, but have not heard back.
Bryan Nelson, the mayor of Apopka, confirmed in an email to PolitiFact that the workers in question are here legally as part of the visa program for 120 days.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency describes the H-2A program as one that "allows U.S. employers or U.S. agents who meet specific regulatory requirements to bring foreign nationals to the United States to fill temporary agricultural jobs."
Under program guidelines, participating employers must show that there are not enough U.S. workers who are able and willing to fill the jobs and that hiring the workers won’t adversely affect wages or conditions for similar U.S. workers.
Disclosure data provided by the Labor Department shows Dewar Nurseries participating in the program in the fourth quarter of 2021, hiring dozens of "nursery workers" and putting them up at Extended Stay.
Overall, the Labor Department data shows 44,706 such worker positions were certified in Florida by the department in fiscal year 2021, which ended in September.
Despite being told by a WESH reporter that the workers were here legally, Loomer has since doubled down on her Gettr feed, writing that "Floridians don’t appreciate suspicious, masked, foreign men being dumped into their communities with no oversight." Loomer has been permanently banned from Twitter after anti-Muslim posts about U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and from Facebook for violating its policies "against dangerous individuals."
An article being shared on Facebook claims that migrant workers that arrived via bus at a central Florida hotel are here illegally, citing a video first shared by a Florida congressional candidate.
That’s not true, said the company that hired them and the mayor of Apopka. The people shown in the video were hired by Dewar Nurseries as part of the U.S. H2-A visa program, which allows employers to hire foreign nationals to fill seasonal agricultural jobs that couldn’t otherwise be filled.
Data from the Labor Department confirms that the company has participated in the program and housed workers at the Extended Stay Hotel.
We rate this claim False.
Email interview with Bryan Nelson, mayor of Apopka, Feb. 1, 2022
Clickorlando.com, "Migrants staying at Maitland hotel are legal farm workers, Apopka mayor says," Jan. 31, 2022
Orlando Sentinel, "Protesters decry illegal immigration at Maitland hotel where legal migrant workers are staying," Jan. 31, 2022
NBC WESH-Ch. 2, "Claims about migrant workers seen at Maitland hotel debunked," Jan. 31, 2022
Patriot Fetch, "Impeach Biden! Laura Loomer Records Hundreds Of More Illegals Dropped Off At A Florida Hotel (Video)," Jan. 31, 2022
Laura Loomer, Gettr feed
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, "H-2A Temporary Agricultural Workers"
U.S. Department of Labor, "H-2A: Temporary Agricultural Employment of Foreign Workers"
U.S. Department of Labor, "Office of foreign labor certification"
Politico, "Twitter maintains ban on candidate Laura Loomer," Aug. 19, 2020
The Washington Post, "Facebook bans extremist leaders including Louis Farrakhan, Alex Jones, Milo Yiannopoulos for being ‘dangerous’," May 2, 2019
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