WASHINGTON – Canadians will be exempt from President Trump’s radical ban on foreign workers after New York Representative Elise Stefanik pressured the administration on the measure, which would hurt her northern state district.
Stefanik, a rising star in the GOP and close adviser to Trump, expressed concern after the president signed an executive order Monday that suspended several popular work visas until the end of the year.
“I represent a very large swath of the New York-Canada border and a large part of my workforce depends on that cross-border trade,” Stefanik told The Post on Thursday.
Stefanik’s 21st Rural Congressional District stretches from the Canadian border to Albany and has large tourism and manufacturing sectors that depend on the work of immigrants.
“I have solved the unique challenges of the northern border throughout this crisis, starting with making sure that our essential health care workers who were Canadians working in New York hospitals were able to cross the border and continue that work,” he continued, referring to The closure of the Canadian border during the coronavirus pandemic.
Monday’s executive order applies to H-1B visas, which are used by America’s top technology companies and their immediate families, H-2B visas for non-farm seasonal workers, J-1 visas for exchange students, and L-visas. 1 for managers of multinational corporations.
In a rare separation from the Trump administration, Stefanik said he did not support the measures.
“I am concerned about this decision. This is an area where I differ (from the administration), ”he said.
“I have many tourism-based employers who trust J-1. H-2Bs are important to Lake George, ”he continued, mentioning the popular tourist destination.
“I really prioritized the needs of employers in my district and I think this is a viable solution. It is a step in the right direction from where we were even a few days ago, “he added.
The news was praised by local business groups that said the visa ban would hinder economic development, as many Canadian companies begin to express interest in opening manufacturing facilities in upstate New York.
“While the suspension of these visa programs is generally negative for economic growth, it was especially important that Canadians not be included, given the high degree of integration between our two economies,” said Garry Douglas, president of the Chamber of Commerce. from North Country.
“The bottom line is that the availability of these visas for Canadians has helped create thousands of manufacturing jobs here and will now continue to do so,” he added.
The visa restrictions, which the administration called a “first United States recovery” to put American citizens at the forefront of the job line amid the massive unemployment of the coronavirus crisis, were criticized by many technology CEOs.
Tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon, said the decision would prevent them from recruiting talent necessary to build critical infrastructure, calling the move “nearsighted.”
The new edict extends the visa restrictions that were introduced at the height of the coronavirus crisis and could free up to 525,000 jobs for Americans from now until the end of 2020, a senior administration official said Monday.
According to May information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 21 million people have become unemployed due to the pandemic, which has shut down much of the American economy.