June 29, 2020

Executive Order Bans Green Cards and Work Visas Through End of Year

Executive Order Bans Green Cards and Work Visas Through End of Year

President Trump announced he will sign an executive order to freeze green cards and most categories of foreign workers through the end of 2020. In April, Trump enacted Proclamation 10014, which blocked most people from receiving a permanent residency visa or green card. This executive order is an extension of the April ban, and also freezes H-1B visas for skilled workers. Trump states the order is to protect unemployed Americans aimed at the COVID-19 pandemic.

The President believes this order will help the U.S. economy and is necessary because “without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand.” Trump also notes that the order is essential because “60 days (the original time of Proclamation 10014) is an insufficient time period for the United States labor market, still stalled with partial social distancing measures, to rebalance, and given the lack of sufficient alternative means to protect unemployed Americans from the threat of competition for scarce jobs from new lawful permanent residents.” 

A senior administration official told Politico the executive order exempts farmworkers and live-in child care providers, but the final text of the order included restrictions on au pairs, interns, trainees, teachers, and camp counselors. Administration officials also said the president’s order would not affect people outside the United States who already have valid visas or seasonal farmworkers, whose annual numbers have ranged from a low of about 50,000 to a high of about 250,000 in the past 15 years. The administration expects the order would block around half-million foreign workers from the U.S.

Many companies are against the executive order, stating it will stifle innovation and put America behind on the world stage. “Preventing high skilled professionals from entering the country and contributing to America’s economic recovery puts American’s global competitiveness at risk,” Amazon told The New York Times. “Highly-skilled visa holders play a critical role in driving innovation,” Facebook said to The New York Times, “and that’s something we should encourage, not restrict.” Twitter’s Canadian Chairman, Patrick Pichette offered an alternative via tweet for H-1B seekers to come to Canada, where they and their families would be welcomed “with open arms.”