Little expected from suspension, freezing of green card

While President Donald Trump’s administration has said its order to suspend many work visas and extend the green card freeze will save the jobs of more than half a million Americans, immigration experts said Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic has already reduced the flow of foreign citizens to the United States

This is in part because the outbreak has shut down consular services abroad for foreign citizens who want to come to the US. USA As immigrants or workers, said Daniel Costa, director of immigration law and policy research at the Institute for Economic Policy, a left-wing think tank.

“The immigration system is already basically closed. And we have seen no sign of when regular visa processing abroad will reopen. To me, that makes it seem mostly symbolic, and strongly suggests that it is a political tactic to blame immigrants for an economy that is losing millions of jobs due to the pandemic, “said Costa, who in May published research that found the H The -1B visa, intended for jobs that require specialized skills, was being used by employers, including major US technology companies, to obtain cheaper foreign labor.

After Trump issued an order Monday to suspend entry of foreign nationals under the H-1B visa and other visas until the end of the year, Ken Cuccinelli, acting deputy of the US Department of Homeland Security. The US tweeted that the measure “would preserve some 525,000 jobs for Americans for the rest of 2020.” The order does not apply to foreign citizens with valid visas on a date prior to Wednesday, when the order takes effect, or to people who are already in the US. USA

However, the nonpartisan Institute for Immigration Policy estimates that if the pandemic had not ended the movement of foreign citizens to the United States, the suspensions would block fewer than 400,000 foreign citizens: 158,000 who wish to immigrate permanently through green cards, plus 167,000 who would enter on work visas, including 29,000 aspiring H-1B workers and 19,000 spouses and children with H-4 visas that accompany them.

Institute analyst Julia Gelatt said it was unclear how Cuccinelli got to the number she cited. But she said that blocking foreigners from getting a job doesn’t mean that all those jobs are saved for Americans. Some jobs Americans would not take, and for others, there are no available and skilled American workers, Gelatt said. Immigrants often create jobs by spending money and starting businesses, Gelatt added.

Trump, in his order, said that “American workers compete against foreign citizens for jobs in all sectors of our economy,” and that amid the economic problems created by the pandemic, work visas, including the H-1B “They pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”

The order received criticism from groups representing Silicon Valley tech companies and from several companies. “Immigrants have not only fueled technological advancements and created new businesses and jobs, but have also enriched American life,” Google spokesman José Castaneda said by email Tuesday. “Particularly now, we need that talent to help contribute to America’s economic recovery.”

But UC Davis professor Norm Matloff, a frequent critic of the H-1B program, called the visa suspensions a “big win” for Big Tech because they would block only foreign workers outside the US. USA So that companies could still hire a large group of foreign students who are already here. “Trump has consistently stated since 2015 that he considers H-1Bs recruited on US college campuses to be the ‘good’ H-1Bs,” Matloff said in a blog post Tuesday. Personnel firms that bring foreign workers to the United States would be most affected by the suspensions, Matloff said. “This frees up a lot of visas for tech companies,” he said.