Immigration: Trump extends the limits of some work visas until 2020

The new limits are part of a concerted effort to reverse the visas available to people abroad as a result of high unemployment in the United States as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, a senior administration official told reporters Monday.
In April, Trump signed an immigration proclamation addressed to people outside the United States seeking to legally migrate to the United States, with a few exceptions. That order, which was suspended, will run until the end of 2020 and will be expanded to include some guest worker visas.

“The president is expanding that measure in light of the franc, the rising unemployment rate and the number of Americans who are out of work,” the official said.

The new visas included are L-1 visas for transfers within the company, H-1B for workers in special occupations, as well as the H-4 visa for spouses, H-2B for temporary non-agricultural workers and most J visas. -1 for exchange visitors. .

Like the April order, the latest proclamation only applies to people outside of the United States. It does not apply to lawful permanent residents, spouses or children of a US citizen, people working in the food supply chain, and individuals “whose entry would be in the national interest.”

The new restrictions will take effect on June 24.

The Department of Homeland Security also issued a regulation that would prohibit most asylum seekers from obtaining work permits, adding another hurdle for those seeking refuge in the United States. The rule was initially proposed last November.
CNN previously reported that one of the key figures behind the push to limit immigration is Stephen Miller, Trump’s top immigration adviser and the architect of the president’s hard-line immigration agenda.

Citing the pandemic, the administration has followed through with a series of immigration measures that, before the coronavirus, had struggled to break through. Among those changes is the closure of the southern border to migrants, including those seeking asylum, unless certain conditions are met.

After the president’s proclamation in April, Miller launched the movement as a first step in reducing the flow of immigrants entering the United States.

The administration raised the economic argument again Monday explaining the latest immigration action. While Trump has touted recent job numbers, unemployment numbers remain high, though companies have said in a series of letters to the President that continued immigration is important to the economic recovery.

“Why would you want to cut the critical workforce that will help the economy recover?” Greg Chen, director of government relations for the American Immigration Lawyers Association, previously told CNN.

Earlier this month, a tech trade group wrote to Trump arguing that non-immigrant visas have been key to sustaining the economy amid a global public health crisis.

The United States’ foreign-born workforce, wrote the Information Technology Industry Council, “is allowing many Americans to continue working remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic, and is playing an essential role. to keep businesses operating safely and people connected. “

ITI is backed by companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft and Oracle.

But critics argue that flaws in the H-1B program have led to its exploitation. To that end, a senior administration official said Monday that Trump had ordered the Labor Department to “investigate abuses” in relation to that visa.

“The H1Bs, the pause in visas, is the temporary action in the President’s action today in the executive order, the most permanent action he is asking us to take includes reforming the H1B system to move in a direction of a more system based on merit, “said the official.

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The Migration Policy Institute, a group of experts in Washington, DC, estimated that the new restrictions would block 219,000 temporary workers.
Shortly after the announcement, DHS issued a regulation that would ban asylum seekers illegally crossing the border from obtaining work authorization, with some exceptions, and delay granting permits.

“It will require most asylum seekers to trust charity or work under the table to survive,” said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, political adviser to the United States Immigration Council, noting that reporting income could not be used against an individual in a separate asylum rule proposal

The rule, which takes effect later this summer, will affect thousands of migrants seeking asylum in the United States who depend on work permits to support themselves as their cases make their way through immigration courts, a process that can lead months, if not years.

This story has been updated with additional details of management action.

CNN’s Nikki Carvajal contributed to this report.