President Trump signed an executive order slowing some green card processing, though a prior draft of the order was much more expansive and broad, Breitbart News has learned.
The executive order, which can be modified in 60 days, halts a modest level of legal immigration from employment-based green card categories and extended family green card categories while exempting all visa worker programs.
An initial draft of the order, obtained exclusively by Breitbart News, would have suspended a multitude of visa worker programs — stopping the immediate importation of thousands of foreign workers while more than 26.5 million Americans have filed for unemployment in recent weeks due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
It is unclear how closely Trump reviewed this draft before signing the final executive order. The contents indicate administration staffers with views more in tune with the president’s economic nationalist agenda were involved in its drafting.
The draft suspended E visas for foreign treaty traders and investors, B visas for foreign business travelers and tourists, H-1B and H-2B visas foreign workers, J-1 visas for foreign exchange visitors, L visas for foreign employees, and O visas for foreign workers:
Section 1: Suspension and Limitation on Entry. The entry into the United States of the following classes of aliens is hereby suspended and limited except as provided for in Section 2 of this proclamation:
(a) Aliens seeking entry as immigrants under an E1, E2, or E3 visa, pending an updated labor certification described in Section 3 of this proclamation;
(b) Aliens seeking entry as immigrants who do not have a valid visa on the effective date under Section 6 of this proclamation;
(c) Aliens seeking entry as non-immigrants pursuant to the following provisions:
–(i) Section 101(a)(15)(B) of the INA … who do not have a valid visa on the effective date under Section 6 of this proclamation, if the alien is seeking employment authorization or is otherwise seeking to work in the United States for salary or other remuneration;
–(ii) Section 101(a)(15)(H)(i)(b) or (ii)(b) of the INA … pending an updated labor certification described in Section 3 of this proclamation;
–(iii) Section 101(a)(15)(E) of the INA … unless granted a non-displacement exemption by the Secretary of Labor, described in Section 4 of this proclamation;
–(iv) Section 101(a)(15)(J) of the INA … to the extent the alien is participating in the camp counselor, intern, international visitor, summer work travel, teacher, or trainee program;
–(v) Section 101(a)(15)(L) of the INA … unless granted a non-displacement exemption by the Secretary of Labor, described in Section 4 of this proclamation;
–(vi) Section 101(a)(15)(O) of the INA … unless granted a non-displacement exemption by the Secretary of Labor, described in Section 4 of this proclamation.
Like the final executive order, the draft exempted lawful permanent residents of the U.S., foreign workers seeking visas in the healthcare industry, the spouses and minor children of naturalized citizens, and H-2A visa workers taking farm jobs.
The final order added a number of exemptions that were not originally included, such as the exemption for the EB-5 visa program, which provides green cards to wealthy Chinese investors.
The final order also exempts Special Immigrant Visas, foreign nationals aiding in law enforcement objectives, and members of the U.S. military. These categories were not exempted in the initial draft of the order.
The draft points to potential modifications to the existing executive order after 30 to 60 days, when the president meets with the heads of the Department of Homeland Security and the Labor Department.
Sources close to the administration have said Trump may look to expand the order to include more pauses on varying immigration programs as unemployment among Americans continues rising. The order marks the first time in recent history that a president has used executive authority to protect Americans from the economic burdens of legal immigration.
The White House did not comment on the draft obtained by Breitbart News.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.