Trump’s Introduction of Tougher Curbs on US Immigration
“We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protect the lives and jobs of our citizens.”– Donald Trump, President of the United States.
On Monday 22nd June 2020, Donald Trump signed an executive order which imposes further immigration restrictions. This is an extension to the current US immigration restrictions implemented just a few months ago after Trump launched a temporary suspension on the issuance of green cards, i.e the grant of permanent residency in the US.
Critics have already argued that the previous immigration restrictions would hit the US economy hard and further argue that this move would simply make it worse. Yet, Trump argues otherwise by maintaining that this move is unquestionably necessary because of the detrimental effects caused by COVID-19 on the US economy. It is said that this will help American businesses hard hit by COVID-19 by reducing competitiveness in the US business industry and securing American jobs, ultimately for the welfare of American citizens and business leaders.
What is the Impact?
The executive order will suspend the distribution of temporary worker visas up until 31st December 2020. This is scheduled to take effect from Wednesday 24th June 2020 at 12:01 AM (EST). It may be subject to extension after review from the US government.
Who does this apply to?
The Proclamation will apply to individuals on H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1 and L-2 visas but who are currently outside the United States and do not have the required visa stamp to re-enter the country.
The order does not apply to individuals who are green card holders (already permanently living in the US), temporary labour, individuals on visas to provide essential labour for “the United States food supply chain” and individuals “whose entry would be in the national interests”.
Individuals whose entry is deemed to be in the national interests may include reasons such as diplomacy, law enforcement, to facilitate economic recovery, defence and national security, to provide medical care for COVID-19 sufferers or conduct medical research into the virus. This will be determined by the US federal government.
Individuals on H-1B, H-2B, H-4, J-1, J-2, L-1 and L-2 visas but who currently reside in the United States are exempt from the order. They still qualify for an extension to their visa statuses with USCIS/DOS. In addition, companies can continue to hire H-1B visa holders employed by another company and extend the visas of their current staff.
It remains unclear whether The Proclamation applies to Canadian citizens who do not require visa stamps to re-enter the United States. This requires further interpretation.
Ultimately, this move has attracted an array of differing opinions and conclusions.
According to US officials, this direction would lead to a plethora of employment opportunities for American citizens by freeing up approximately 525,000 jobs in the country. This would be a significant result as the US employment rate has launched to a staggering 13.3% because of the pandemic. Additionally, this is considered a development towards Trump’s motive to reform the H-1B visa system by making it into a merits-based system where applicants are ranked according to the salaries stipulated in their job offers.
However, other officials and critics have persisted that would not only slow and hinder the economy further but also push the US back in terms of technological advancements compared with other countries. Since this immigration route will no longer attract those such as scientists and students abroad, this could potentially have lasting detrimental effects on the US ability to further its innovation, technological advancements and more importantly stay miles ahead of countries like China in these respects.
Another argument altogether is that this was a political move to gain popularity for the Trump campaign. Political experts speculate that this was made in attempt to rev up his campaign against Joe Biden, the Democratic presidential nominee who seems to pose a massive threat to Trumps’ re-election. Bearing this political struggle in mind, it seems that Trump has made another immigration move to reinstall his popularity. This can be seen when he instilled fear on illegal immigration from Mexico and other countries years ago which ultimately made him win the White House four years ago.
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require legal assistance with your immigration related matters, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0)20 3318 5794.