As the Coronavirus quarantine is underway, the Trump administration has taken extra precautions to protect Americans, one being the suspension of some immigration programs. On April 20th, President Trump tweeted his intentions of signing an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to protect American jobs. Two days later, the text was released and was much narrower than expected.
Let’s start with the good news. Chain migration and the Diversity Visa Lottery were both suspended for 60 days. Both of these categories allow extended family members of previous immigrants to obtain work visas and apply for green cards. A projected 58,000 people will be affected which is less than ten percent of all immigration.
The bad news is that the executive order does not have any effect on many worker-visa programs. Categories that allow skilled, seasonal, and agriculture workers will proceed as usual. As a reminder, over one million visas have been issued annually to temporary workers. H-1B visas alone bring in 100,000 immigrants per year and allow them to stay for six years. With the unemployment rate for Americans skyrocketing to over 20%, suspending these visa programs could open up thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of jobs for those unemployed.
The caveat in the executive order is that it can be extended beyond 60 days. Many Conservatives have called for not only an extension, but an expansion. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) sent a letter to President Trump to suspend all H-1B, H4, L-1, B-1, and B-2 visas. Additionally, he has asked to stop all Optional Practical Training visas, a program where Americans have to train their foreign replacements. Rep. Lance Goodman (R-TX) soon joined his efforts by tweeting his support in expanding the ban.
Following the President’s executive order, the Senate and House passed a whopping $484 billion bill to help hospitals, expand testing, and provide relief to small businesses through the Paycheck Protection Program. While this bill left out many of the Left’s agenda that was negotiated into previous Coronavirus-related bills, this legislation was the costliest. The House is poised to continue on their path of extreme spending without taking time to weigh their options.
Eagle Forum encourages state and federal governments to open the economy by expanding the ban on immigration, stop harmful spending, and ease up on orders that force businesses to close.