Chamber CEO urges Trump against entry bans impacting work visa holders

Greg Nash

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce called on President Trump on Thursday to not impose certain immigration policies that the pro-business lobbying group thinks could hurt the economy’s rebound following the coronavirus pandemic.

Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue wrote a letter to Trump about his concerns with the impact of a potential entry ban on temporary work visas. 

“As the economy rebounds, American businesses will need assurances that they can meet all their workforce needs. To that end, it is crucial that they have access to talent both domestically and from around the world,” Donohue wrote.

He added, “Policies that would, for example, impose wide-ranging bans on the entry of nonimmigrant workers or impose burdensome new regulatory requirements on businesses that employ foreign nationals would undermine that access to talent, and, in the process, undercut our economy’s ability to grow and create jobs.”

Donohue said that American businesses need L-1 visa holders, who have a work visa valid for a relatively short amount of time, for necessary expertise and noted the importance of H-1B visa holders, who have a work visa valid for multiple years, for various industries, including technology, accounting, and manufacturers.

Republican senators urged Trump last month to suspend all new guest worker visas for sixty days and suspend other categories of new guest worker visas for at least a year as a way to raise the unemployment rate and job loss from the coronavirus.

“Short-term disruptions in the L-1 and H-1B visa programs would hamper businesses’ ability to make long-term planning and domestic investment decisions,” he wrote.

“Many of these businesses are small businesses, and these employers often operate on thin margins. If they lose business because they lack an adequate labor force, the employers and the Americans who work for them full-time would suffer.”

Donohue also said he is concerned about potential policy changes like imposing new restrictions on hiring international students who were educated or trained in the U.S., substantial increases in filing fees for H-1B workers and curtailing work authorization eligibility for H-1B visa holders’ spouses, among other issues.

“America’s immigration system clearly is not perfect. As you acknowledged a year ago, it discriminates against ‘genius’ and ‘brilliance.’ The U.S. Chamber of Commerce agrees with that assessment in many respects. However, the potential changes to immigration policy discussed above would only serve to magnify those flaws of our current system,” Donohue wrote.

Tags Donald Trump

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