STAFF WRITE, CLEVELAND:- After months of speculation, President Trump issued the “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the U.S, Labor Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak.” Referencing the millions of Americans who remain out of work due to COVID-19-related economic disruptions, President Trump suspended the issuance of H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 Work Visas, effective 12:01 am, EST, on June 24, 2020, until December 31, 2020.
Richard Herman, a nationally-renowned immigration lawyer and co-author of the book, Immigrant, Inc. – Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American Worker), says that this new immigration restriction will harm U.S. workers and the ability to rebuild the economy:
“The data shows that immigrant workers complement, rather than compete against, native-born workers, because they tend to have different levels of education, work in different occupations, specialize in different tasks, and live in different places.
Much like the President’s disregard of medical experts who warn against large public gatherings, and their urgent proclamations for using face masks, testing, and tracing to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the President is now disregarding the economic experts
whose research demonstrates that immigrant workers create jobs and help expand the U.S. economy through innovation (particularly in STEM fields), entrepreneurship, consumption, exports, and filling gaps in the labor market.”
This order comes two months after an earlier Proclamation which temporarily suspended some family and most employment based immigrant visas. The new Proclamation extends the earlier restrictions until the end of the year.
H-1B visas are used for skilled workers and are common in technology-driven industries. H-2B visas are for seasonal workers such as landscapers. L-1 visas are intra-company transfer visas for executives and other skilled workers. J-1cultural exchange visas are for au pairs, camp counselors and others.
Hundreds of thousands may be affected by the new restriction. In 2019, the H-1B was awarded to about 133,000 workers starting initial employment with a company. More than 12, 000 people were granted L-1 visas in initial applications, and more than 98,000 were issued H-2B visas. Approximately 300,000 J-1 visas are issued per year (although many J-1 categories appear exempt from ban.).
While the Proclamation appears to exclude any worker who is:
· In the U.S. on the date of the Proclamation enactment;
· Has a non-immigrant visa that is valid on the date of Proclamation enactment;
· J-1 researchers and physicians
· Seeking to enter the U.S. to provide temporary labor essential to the U.S. food supply chains
· Whose work would be in the national interest (such as work related to law enforcement, COVID-19 medical care or research, and activity necessary to facilitate immediate economic recovery).
Without offering any corroborating research, the Trump Administration has indicated that the above-restrictions will free up 525,000 jobs for Americans.
In analyzing the Proclamation, Richard Herman, founder of the Herman Legal Group, states the following:
“This Proclamation will hinder economic recovery because it will make it much harder for employers to fill critical positions, it will encourage U.S. employers to move abroad, and it will turn away some of the world’s most innovative and entrepreneurial minds. This stunning display of ignorance and xenophobia by Donald Trump may play well to his political base, but it will do serious damage to the U.S. economy as we attempt to rebuild from the damage done due to his reckless response to COVID-19.
The real risk to U.S. workers and economy is not immigration—it’s Trump’s gross mismanagement of the pandemic.”
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