Suspension of Entry of Foreign Workers Detrimental to US
By Reuben Seguritan
On June 22, 2020, President Trump suspended the entry into the US of certain foreign workers. The suspension is effective from June 22, 2020 to December 31, 2020. But the President may extend the suspension after December 31, 2020. The affected workers are those who seek to enter the US with a H-1B or H-2B visa including their accompanying immediate relatives; J visa holder who will work as an intern, trainee, teacher or camp counselor, au pair, or in a summer work travel program, and their accompanying relatives; and L visa holder and their accompanying spouses and minor children.
The new proclamation is a continuation of Proclamation 10014 issued on April 22, 2020. The new proclamation suspending entry only applies to those who: 1. Are outside the US on the effective date of the proclamation; 2. Do not have a nonimmigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of the proclamation; and 3. Does not have an official travel document other than a visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits the individual to travel to the US and seek entry or admission.
The new proclamation preventing foreign workers from entering the US does not apply to green card holders because they are allowed to leave and return to the US as lawful permanent residents. The proclamation also does not apply to children and spouses of US citizens who are seeking to enter the US. Workers who will provide temporary labor or services essential to the food supply chain in the US will be allowed to enter and will not be affected by the proclamation. Any other person whose entry into the US would be in the national interest as determined by the US Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security or their respective designees will also be allowed to enter the US.
The President justified the new proclamation by stating that foreign workers present a risk to the US workers and the US labor market. Hence, the proclamation will protect US laborers and help them get jobs during this covid-19 pandemic and help the US economy recover. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs because of the pandemic and the proclamation aims to help them get jobs first and not foreign workers. There is fierce competition between Americans and foreign workers in all different areas of jobs from science and technology to economics and physical labor. The US economy is currently trying to recover from the economic downturn caused by the covid-19 pandemic. The government wants to make sure that Americans are not displaced and are able to go back to work. The government adds that the proclamation will provide 525,000 jobs for Americans because of the new proclamation. However no explanation was given as to how the government came up with the number of 525,000 jobs availability because of the proclamation.
The government notes that foreign workers are able to bring with them their spouses and minor children. If they are allowed into the US, their immediate accompanying spouse and minor children can come to the US and work. These people again compete with Americans for the jobs that are available. Hence the government included these immediate relatives in the suspension of entry into the US.
Critics of the President have stated that the new proclamation is detrimental to the US. The President is continuing the policy of strict immigration rules and limiting of entry of lawful immigrants and workers into the US. He is up for reelection in November and is trying his best to keep his base of voters who are also against immigrants and have them vote for him again. He is not really thinking about the economy or how employers can start their businesses again. There have been limited, if any, programs and financial aid to business owners so they can start their businesses again and re-hire their employees.
Furthermore, immigration workers groups have pointed out that H-2B visa holders, which are included in the suspension, have been employed by President Trump owned or associated businesses such as the Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. Now even his businesses will not be able to hire the required number of workers needed. The suspension of foreign workers in the new proclamation have clearly not been analyzed thoroughly for consequences and effects on American businesses.
In addition, experts have stated that preventing foreign workers from entering the US, even for a limited amount of time, will cause more harm than good to the US economy. These highly-skilled foreign workers are needed by major companies like Amazon and Google. There is a procedure in place to ensure that qualified Americans will not be displaced by the foreign worker. Through the years major companies have seen that there are not enough highly-skilled Americans to fill in the job vacancies. Hence, foreign workers are needed to perform these jobs which require a very high level of skill and expertise.