Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) is asking President Trump to suspend a number of foreign visa worker programs while more than 26 million Americans are unemployed due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
In a letter to Trump, Gosar thanked the president for signing an executive order this week that will slow visa processing for foreign nationals seeking employment and extended family green cards — a group that represents less than ten percent of all annual legal immigration.
Gosar requested that Trump expand the executive order to suspend entry of H-1B visas, H4 visas, L-1 visas, B-1 visas, B-2 visas, and Optional Practical Training (OPT) visas to protect Americans from being forced to compete against a foreign workforce.
Thank you for your proclamation on April 22, 2020 “Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak.” While the United States works to combat the spread and economic ramifications of COVID-19, American workers appreciate your full consideration of present public health and economic circumstances. [Emphasis added]
I write to encourage consideration of “additional measures” by the Secretary of Labor, Secretary of Homeland Security, and Secretary of State, as described in Section 6 of the proclamation, within 30 days of the effective date to “ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers.” I respectfully request consideration of the additional suspension of the H-1B, H4, L1, B1, B2, Optional Practical Training Program, and further guestworker admissions in order to promote wages and opportunities for American workers during this period of rising unemployment. [Emphasis added]
Additionally, as you continue to evaluate United States dependency on foreign nations for essential supplies, I also encourage evaluation of United States dependency on foreign participation for essential services and labor. As you know, Americans are capable, high-skilled, and hard-working. As the recovery ramps up, there are many Americans who are eager, willing and able to work, but will lack opportunities because of policies enacted by previous administrations which often favor cheaper labor from abroad over United States workers. [Emphasis added]
Traditionally, the admission of foreign workers has been predicated on shortages of American labor. However, in the last month the COVID-19 health emergency has put more than 25 million Americans out of work. With your leadership we will make the American economy great again, empowering United States workers and families to thrive. I look forward to working with you on continued action to protect United States workers during this recovery. [Emphasis added]
Thank you for your leadership and careful consideration of this request as our nation continues to combat the health and economic ramifications of COVID-19. [Emphasis added]
In a given year, more than 100,000 foreign workers are brought to the U.S. on the H-1B visa and are allowed to stay for up to six years. There are about 650,000 H-1B visa foreign workers in the U.S. at any given moment.
Americans are often laid off in the process and forced to train their foreign replacements, as highlighted by Breitbart News. More than 85,000 Americans annually potentially lose their jobs to foreign labor through the H-1B visa program.
An earlier draft of the executive order, exclusively obtained by Breitbart News, showed that the administration had initially intended to suspend the H-1B visa program — as well as H-2B visas, E visas, J-1 visas, B visas, and O visas — but those provisions were removed from the final draft.
Experts with the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) say if the executive order is expanded to suspend more visa programs and extended beyond its 60-day period, its impact “could be more significant” in terms of lessening foreign labor competition against Americans.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.