An order temporarily halting many work-visa programs for immigrants and extending the April freeze on green cards through the end of the year was signed by President Trump on Monday in an effort to “safeguard jobs for unemployed Americans” during the pandemic. The move includes H-1B visas for high-skilled positions but does not include those who already had visas issued or medical workers coming into the country to treat or research COVID-19.
Advocates for limited immigration have pressured Trump to “take steps to limit the number of foreign workers coming to the country to ensure Americans get jobs first as the economy rebounds.” A senior official for the Trump administration estimated that 500,000 jobs would be accessible to Americans due to the move. Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior adviser for policy, said it will prioritize American unemployment and help economic recovery in the US.
“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.”Dan Stein, President of Federation for American Immigration Reform
“Tech-industry officials and other business leaders warned the decision would cramp companies’ ability to recruit top talent to the U.S. and bar immigrants who fill unique skill sets or take jobs most Americans won’t perform,” wrote The Wall Street Journal. A group of nine GOP senators wrote a letter to the White House in May, calling on Trump to allow work-visa programs to resume. A former Obama administration official, Leon Fresco, said the move is “counterproductive” and will harm the US economy by cutting off “niche positions that are not easily found in the American workforce.”
Before coronavirus, legal immigration and programs like these played an important role in helping President Trump create the strongest economy in generations. I have little doubt that programs like these would help him build it again.— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) June 22, 2020