NYT Says Trump’s Immigration Suspension Includes Visa Workers

A pedestrian crossing from Mexico into the United States at the Otay Mesa port of entry has his facial features and eyes scanned at a biometric kiosk Thursday, Dec. 10, 2015, in San Diego. On Thursday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection began capturing facial and eye scans of foreigners entering …
AP Photo/Denis Poroy

President Donald Trump’s temporary suspension of the immigrant inflow includes the routine inflow of non-immigrant visa workers, according to the New York Times.

“A formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could come as early as the next few days, according to several people familiar with the plan,” said the NYT report, posted early Tuesday morning.

The report continued:

Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system in the same way the president has long advocated closing the borders to illegal immigration.

Workers who have for years received visas to perform specialized jobs in the United States would also be denied permission to arrive, though some workers in some industries deemed critical could be exempted from the ban, the people familiar with the president’s discussion said.

The plan is likely to exempt the roughly 4,000 foreign doctors who are scheduled to arrive by June via the J-1 visa program, plus the large blocs of 200,000+ H-2A farmworkers who are already scheduled for myriad farm tasks, and some family reunifications.

But the suspension likely will cover the many college starter-level jobs held by many Indian and Chinese graduates in the H-1B program.

The suspension of the H-1B program would block the agency processing of the roughly 100,000 new H-1B workers who are expected to take U.S. jobs after October 1.

But many more H-1B jobs could be opened to U.S. graduates if the government does not help U.S. and Indian companies keep their laid-off H-1B workers in the United States.

Roughly 900,000 foreigners hold U.S. jobs through the H-1B program. Many are being laid-off from their outsourcing jobs in the economic crash. Under federal law, any laid-off  H-1Bs must go home in 60 days unless the Labor Department helps U.S. and Indian companies rewrite the rubber-stamped “Labor Condition Application” documents which fix the workers’ work locations, hours and wages.

Similarly, the immigration suspension may also hit the Occupational Practical Training program, which is already stalled because the work-permit requests are stalled by agency closures. Roughly 200,000 foreign graduates get jobs via the OPT program each, including many thousands of jobs at elite U.S. companies, such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and Intel.

Many other white collar visa programs could be stalled by the suspension, including the L-1 program for company transfers, and the B-1 visa to allow foreign workers to visit but not work. The suspension may also hit the “Curricular Practical Training” program that allows foreign students to hold full-time jobs.

Nationwide, U.S. companies employ roughly 1.5 million foreign contract workers in white collar jobs sought by U.S. graduates.

In 2019, U.S.  companies also employed at least one million foreign workers in blue collar jobs. This ‘work permit workforce’ includes at least 200,000 H-2A farmworkers, at least 100,000 H-2B laborers, roughly 500,000 people who got work permits via 2020 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals amnesty plus hundreds of thousands of asylum applicants and green card applicants.

The visa workers and work permit workers are legal workers with a limited set of legal and workplace rights. They have a legal status somewhere between the one million legal immigrants who arrive each year, and the semi-hidden population of at least eight million illegal migrants with jobs.

The Trump plan is likely popular among the people who will vote in 2020. Breitbart News reported April 13:

A newly released Ipsos poll finds Americans are almost totally unified in their support for pausing immigration in the midst of the coronavirus crisis and mass unemployment.

Overall, about 79 percent of American adults said they want immigration temporarily paused to the U.S. — a policy far beyond just the travel bans that have been implemented on Chinese, Iranian, and European travel to the country by President Trump’s administration.

Many opinions polls have shown the public strongly objects to companies hiring foreign workers before American employees. For example, an August 2017 poll reported that 68 percent of Americans oppose companies’ use of H-1Bs to outsource U.S.-based jobs that could be held by Americans.



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