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Business Leaders Call on Trump to Allow Temporary Work Permits

The Trump administration may expand its visa ban under the guise of preserving American jobs during the pandemic

Max Siegelbaum

Jun 17, 2020

A visa and a passport

Gregory Minott came to the U.S. from his home country of Jamaica more than twenty years ago on a student visa. He thenbuilt a career in architecture and a life in the U.S. thanks to temporary work visas. Now, Minott is pleading with the Trump administration to not deprive others of the opportunities he was given through visa programs. “Innovation thrives when there is cultural, economic and racial diversity,” Minott said. “To not have peers from other countries collaborating side by side with Americans is going to be a setback for the country. We learned from Americans, but Americans also learn from us.”

Business leaders and academic institutions are pleading with President Trump to refrain from expanding the temporary visa restrictions he imposed in April in what he said was an attempt to protect American jobs during the coronavirus pandemic. They say cutting off access to foreign workers will disrupt the economy and stifle innovation when it is sorely needed. Trump imposed a 60-day pause on visas for foreigners seeking permanent residency on April 22. The action did not address temporary work and student visas issued each year. Some Republicans say the guest worker visas should be suspended for at least 60 days or until unemployment drops to regular levels.

The White House has made it clear it’s considering suspending H-1B visas for high-skilled workers; H-2B visas for seasonal workers and L-1 visas for employees transferring within a company to the U.S. Businesses and academic groups are also concerned about changes to Optional Practical Training, a program that allows 200,000 students to work in the U.S. each year for up to three years after college. The Associated Press

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The Supreme Court refused to take up a case challenging a California law that prevented local law enforcement from cooperating with federal immigration authorities. The California Values Act prevents state and local law enforcement from sharing immigrants’ personal information with federal authorities and transferring them to ICE detention, which will continue unimpeded. The Trump administration had challenged the act in court on the basis that it interfered with enforcement of federal immigration laws. Lower courts upheld the laws. Vox

Max Siegelbaum

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