President Donald Trump issued an executive order on Monday, extending immigration restrictions through December, ordering limits on foreign workers and suspending work permits for asylum seekers with pending claims for one year.
The new regulations would deny work authorization to asylum seekers with pending claims for one year because the humanitarian program is being exploited by economic migrants who file meritless claims, the administration said.
The new measures, which were described to reporters by administration officials in a telephonic briefing, will prevent foreign workers from filling 525,000 jobs, according to White House estimates.
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The officials said Trump’s executive order had become necessary to protect U.S. workers following job losses amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The freeze will apply to H1-B, H4, and L visas, as well as most J and H2-B visas. It mainly applies to work visas, especially in the technology sector, landscaping services and the forestry industry, and excludes agricultural laborers and some health care workers.
It includes a special exemption for the approximately 20,000 child-care providers who come to the United States as “au pairs.”
“Trump on April 22 ordered a 60-day freeze on several categories of family and employment-based immigration visas, limits that have now been extended through the end of 2020. While U.S. citizens can continue to sponsor spouses and minor children, Trump’s orders will bar most other categories of applicants, affecting more than half of the approximately 460,000 immigration visas issued last year.
“Trump’s orders, which the White House has described as “a pause,” do not apply to immigrants already living and working in the United States nor to permanent residents seeking to become naturalized citizens,” reported Texas Tribune.
The Washington Post quoted the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which had lobbied to soften the limits for months, as saying that Trump adopted a “severe and sweeping attempt to restrict legal immigration,” which could hurt the country’s economic recovery amid the pandemic.