President Trump signed an order on Monday that restricts new immigrants with employment-based visas from coming to the U.S. during the pandemic, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal.
The ban includes H-1B visas for highly skilled workers, H-2B visas for short-term seasonal workers, J-1 visas for short-term workers, and L-1 visas for internal company transfers. The order exempts health care workers focused on the coronavirus, those working in the food-supply chain, and those “necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States” from the ban.
The ban also does not include visa-holders already in the U.S. or those outside the U.S. who have already been given valid visas.
The order goes into effect on June 24 and remain effective until the end of the year. The Migration Policy Institute estimates that the order will restrict 325,000 immigrants and their family members from entering the U.S. to work in various industries across the country. A senior Trump administration official claims that this number could be up to 525,000.
“I’m very heartened by this action—not only the scope of it but also the time frame of the suspension, because it means that employers can’t just hold their breath and wait until it’s over,” said Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies.
Some officials, however, say that the move may be beneficial for U.S. citizens as there will be more jobs available for those who have been laid off during the pandemic. Business leaders have warned the opposite though—that the move would limit their ability to recruit top-talent workers who fill unique skills that most Americans can’t and won’t perform.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted, “Disappointed by today’s proclamation—we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all.”
Colleges have also said that it would discourage highly intelligent students from studying in the United States. Business groups are expected to challenge the order in court.
“This is a full-frontal attack on American innovation and our nation’s ability to benefit from attracting talent from around the world,” said Todd Schulte, president of Fwd.us, a pro-immigration group that advocates on behalf of American businesses.
Nine Republican senators sent a letter to President Trump on May 27, urging him to reconsider the new restrictions due to the impact the order may have on U.S. businesses.
President Trump’s own golf clubs and resorts employ hundreds of international workers allowed in the U.S. by H-2B visas each year.
“I fear the President’s decision today to temporarily shut down these programs will create a drag on our economic recovery,” Senator Lindsay Graham tweeted.
Read the full reporthere.