The Trump Administration has once again used the Coronavirus Pandemic as an excuse to clamp down on legal immigration and fuel the fires of xenophobia. On June 22, 2020, Mr. Trump issued an order (Proclamation 10014) that suspends or limits entry into the United States any individual who has a H-1B, H-2B, J or L visa. The H-visas are related to those individuals that have temporary work in the United States; the J-visa is often used by individuals working for universities, colleges and research institutions but also temporary summer workers; and the L visa is reserved for transfers of managers and executives of multinational organizations.
The order applies to all individuals that are not in the United States on June 22, 2020 even if they that person has already been working for a company in the United States before he or she left the United States unless they already have a visa in their passport.
The reason given in the order to prevent entry of approved temporary workers is that unemployment is at extreme levels and the order is to protect American workers and hasten economic recovery. There are many problems with this reasoning. American company's specifically applied for these foreign individuals to come to the United States to work temporarily in the United States because these individuals are needed. These individuals not only help support the businesses, they support creation of other jobs. Some of these individuals, like multinational executives are critical to keeping the American business running during this economic downturn. These individuals will be spending their earnings in the United States and helping to support local economies. The number of persons who will be entering the United States is only a fraction of the number of people that have loss their jobs. If a company could not afford to have the foreign worker in the United States the company can terminate the services and withdraw its application with the Citizenship and Immigration Service. Even if the number of individuals affected by the order is 100,000 the fact that these individuals do not come into the United States will not mean American businesses are going to hire anyone already in the United States to fill these vacancies.
Instead of an order blocking American businesses from obtaining needed workers as a way to help a protracted economic recovery perhaps the Trump Administration can order all Americans to wear masks and physically distance themselves. Slowing the spread of the virus until a vaccine or treatment is discovered will do far more in securing our economic future and be much better for business and the unemployed.