Trump: Imminent action on temporary work visas ‘going to make a lot of people very happy’
President Trump said late Saturday that he is planning to impose new restrictions on H-1B, L-1 and other temporary, employment-based immigration visas as the U.S. continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump told Fox News that he will make an announcement on the order in the coming days, noting that it was “‘going to make a lot of people very happy.”
“It’s common sense, I mean, to be honest with you. It’s common sense,” Trump said, linking the move to the surge in unemployment that resulted from the economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The unemployment rate now sits at 13.3 percent.
Asked whether the new restrictions would include exceptions, Trump said that “you have to have exclusions” in “some cases.”
“You need them for big businesses where they have certain people that have been coming in for a long time,” he said. “But very little exclusion, and they’re pretty tight. And we may even go very tight for a period of time.”
Trump is expected to sign an order that suspends certain guest worker visas for the rest of 2020, NPR first reported on Saturday, citing multiple sources familiar with the plan. The news outlet reported that the order would have broad exceptions and that it is not expected to immediately affect people currently living in the U.S.
The order will reportedly focus on H-1B, L-1, H-2B and J-1 visas. H-1B visas are designed for certain skill workers in specialty occupations, while L-1 visas enable a U.S. employer to transfer an executive or manager to an affiliated office in the U.S. H-2B visas are issued to seasonal workers. J-1 visas apply to research scholars and professors.
The order reportedly does not apply to individuals participating in the H-2A program, which allows U.S. companies to bring foreign workers to fill temporary agriculture jobs.
The White House did not immediately return a request for further comment from The Hill.
The move on temporary visas would mark the latest immigration restriction the administration has imposed amid the coronavirus outbreak. Among other things, the president halted flights for refugees and issued a temporary suspension on green cards.
Trump said in May that the order would last for 60 days and apply to those seeking permanent residence. He portrayed the decision as one designed to help American workers from competition overseas, saying that it would “ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens.”
The administration has also extended border restrictions indefinitely. The policy bans the “introduction of certain aliens” until the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes that the coronavirus no longer poses a threat to public health, according to the rule’s text.