President Donald Trump suspended the entry of certain foreign workers into the U.S. on Monday, a move geared toward protecting American employees as the economy recovers from the impact of COVID-19.
Who are affected: The suspension, which starts from June 24 through the end of the year, will affect immigrants who need certain visas to work in industries ranging from tech and consulting to landscaping and seasonal jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal.
- The presidential proclamation blocks the following: H-1B visas for specialized highly-skilled workers; H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers; H-4 visas for the spouses and children of H-1B and H-2B holders; J-1 visas for exchange visitors (participants in an intern, trainee, teacher, camp counselor, au pair or summer work travel program); J-2 visas for the spouses and dependents of J-1 holders; L-1 visas for employees — often executives — internally transferred by companies to the U.S.; and L-2 visas for dependents of L-1 holders.
- The order also extends a temporary ban on green cards, which was first implemented on April 22 and largely targeted family members, according to Time.
- Meanwhile, the suspension will not affect immigrants and visa holders already in the U.S.
- Health workers involved in the treatment of patients with COVID-19 are also exempt from the order, according to NPR.
- H-2A agricultural workers are also safe from the ban, as they are needed to ensure supplies of goods such as fruits and vegetables.
- Individuals “whose entry would be in the national interests” are exempt from the order as well, according to The Hill.
Why this is important: The suspension is expected to open up 525,000 jobs for American workers, though some businesses believe it will only stifle the economic recovery, according to Reuters.
- It’s unclear how the administration came up with the 525,000 figure, but a senior official told reporters that the suspension seeks “getting Americans back to work as quickly as possible.”
- “President Trump has repeatedly promised that he would put American workers first, and to his credit, he did just that,” said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which calls for less immigration, according to NPR. “For the most part, the president withstood intense pressure from powerful business interests that continue to demand more cheap foreign labor, even as they have laid off an unprecedented number of American workers over the past three months.”
- The move is expected to affect 167,000 visas, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also reacted in opposition to the proclamation. “Putting up a ‘not welcome’ sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won’t help our country, it will hold us back,” Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. Donohue said in a statement.
- Google CEO Sundar Pichai expressed disappointment at the decision, tweeting: “Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation — we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”
- Other companies that decried the suspension include Amazon, Facebook, Twitter and Uber, according to Business Insider. “President Trump’s latest proclamation uses the COVID-19 pandemic as justification for limiting immigration,” a Facebook representative told NBC News.
Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation – we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.
— Sundar Pichai (@sundarpichai) June 22, 2020
Feature Image via The White House