State Department officials have issued new carve-outs to a number of visa programs, including for foreign au pairs, halted by President Trump’s executive order that seeks to cut foreign competition against unemployed Americans.
In June, Trump issued an order halting the H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L-1, L-2, and J-1 visa programs to give job priority to the roughly 30 to 40 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed amid the Chinese coronavirus crisis. The visa suspension is intended to last until at least December 31.
At the last minute, Breitbart News exclusively reported, Trump included the J-1 visa program in the order — seeking to free up thousands of au pair jobs for young and working class Americans that would otherwise go to foreign nationals.
This week, though, State Department officials issued major carve-outs for each of the visa programs. American worker advocates say the State Department’s guidelines “gut” the order and are an “insult” to Trump that flies in the face of his agenda to protect unemployed Americans during mass unemployment.
As part of that guidance, State Department officials are reopening the J-1 visa pipeline even as Trump’s order was beginning to drive up U.S. wages and benefits for au pairs.
The State Department guidance allows foreign nationals to secure J-1 visas to the U.S. so long as they are providing care for a child with special needs, caring for a child whose parents are working on the coronavirus front lines, being hosted by a U.S. government agency, offering specialized education to U.S. children, or providing care for a household that would otherwise need government assistance.
State Department officials issued the carve-outs for each of the visa programs weeks after the U.S. Chamber of Commerce filed a lawsuit against Trump, claiming that businesses have a right to continue importing foreign workers during times of record joblessness.
The Chamber of Commerce lawsuit, representing firms like Intrax that help place foreign au pairs in U.S. households, claimed the J-1 visa program is “critical now, with children forced to stay home by the pandemic rather than attend school in person.”
“Without childcare, many parents will be unable to work, decreasing productivity and deepening the Nation’s economic issues,” the lawsuit stated.
In 2018, the foreign au pair program delivered more than 20,600 young people to upper-middle-class and wealthy households in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of all foreign au pairs go to households in California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois, states where there is a concentration of wealth.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.