For nearly 25 years, Donnie and Michelle Massie have been on the ride of their life, traveling with their family-run carnival, Alpine Amusement, across the Midwest.
But now they say it may come to an end. The Massies, like other seasonal American businesses including landscaping and crabbing, have for years relied on a federal seasonal worker program — known as H-2B visas — to keep their midway moving. But this year, they were denied the 44 visas they requested to bring in their usual workers from Mexico and South Africa.
Alpine Amusement’s pain is one that other industries say has become acute under President Donald Trump, even in states and counties he won by promising to have the backs of small-business owners. Across the country, companies that depend on the temporary worker program have been scrambling to stay afloat because of the limited number of visas, coupled with the high demand this year.