With more than 33 million temporarily out of work, the Trump Administration plans to force wealthy Fortune 500 operations to hire Americans over foreign workers.
Stung by stay-at-home orders and business closures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, the U.S. recently suffered the worst jobs report in history. Despite an April unemployment rate of 14.7 percent — the highest since the Great Depression — Fortune 500 corporations pushed for an increase in H-B1 visas. If everyday people were wondering where President Trump’s red line in the sand was, Americans just found it.
“By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens, so important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” Trump said. “We have the solemn duty to ensure that these unemployed Americans regain their jobs and livelihoods.”
Republicans are urging the White House to double-down on its immigration pause. Letters from Senators Tom Cotton, Josh Hawley, Chuck Grassley, and Ted Cruz, as well as Representatives Paul Gosar, Lance Gooden, Mo Brooks, and Matt Gaetz ask the president to issue an executive order stopping foreigners from securing non-agricultural positions while U.S. citizens are displaced.
Visa “suspension should, at a minimum, include H-2B visas (non-agricultural seasonal workers), H-1B visas (specialty occupation workers), and the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program (extension of foreign student visas after graduation). We also urge you to suspend the EB-5 immigrant visa program, effective immediately,” the senators wrote.
GOP congressional leaders made a similar plea to President Trump on behalf of American workers.
“We urge you to further use your legal authority and suspend substantially all temporary guest worker programs,” the congressmen wrote. “Such action would provide the greatest possible protection for American workers and further exemplify your commitment to the economic prosperity of our great nation.”
Washington Democrats raged against the president’s preemptive immigration suspension, saying he was “giving into racism and xenophobia.” But the America First agenda that led to an economic resurgence, before the pandemic hit, prioritizes the best interests of U.S. citizens. According to recent reports, the Trump Administration is readying an executive order that would prevent foreign workers from taking American jobs, including wealthy Fortune 500 corporations.
“The order is expected to focus on visa categories including H-1B, designed for highly skilled workers, and H-2B, for seasonal migrant workers, as well as student visas and the work authorization that accompanies them,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Though the scope of the order hasn’t yet been decided, administration officials said it could range from suspensions of entire visa categories to the creation of incentives to hire Americans in industries hardest-hit by layoffs.”
What reportedly irked President Trump were reports of top U.S. companies focusing on foreign workers while Americans have been sidelined by the virus. Apple recently petitioned the Department of Homeland Security to extend 130 work visas, primarily tech industry positions.
Recent polls indicate that 65 percent of Americans support suspending work visas. Much to the chagrin of Democrats trying to court Latino-American voters, 69 percent support stopping legal immigration until U.S. citizens are back to work.