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Conservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year

Greg Nash

A group of GOP lawmakers led by House Freedom Caucus Chairman Andy Biggs (Ariz.) is calling on the Trump administration to temporarily stop issuing any new guest-worker visas amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

In a letter sent to President Trump on Wednesday, the lawmakers praised the White House’s decision to limit the number of immigrants coming into the country during the health crisis, but argued more action needs to be taken to ensure Americans who have lost their jobs due to the outbreak have ample opportunities to find new employment. 

“We should not force Americans to compete with foreign nationals while jobs are scarce, and Americans should get priority consideration for employment when businesses are able to reopen,” the letter said. “We urge you to suspend granting any new guest-worker visas for at least one year, and potentially longer depending on the strength of the economy.” 

In addition to Biggs, Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Mo Brooks (R-Ala.), Brian Babin (R-Texas) and Steve King (R-Iowa) also signed the letter. 

Guest-worker programs allow employers in the United States to hire foreign workers to fill positions where there is a labor shortage — often for seasonal positions. 

The programs allow individuals to come to the country and work for a period of time. The programs are often utilized for positions in the agricultural sector, but visas can also be used for high-skilled workers in different sectors. 

Trump signed an executive order last month to temporarily pause certain green cards from being issued for 60 days, in a move the administration said is aimed to preserve jobs during the health crisis. But the lawmakers note that temporary guest visas were not included in the order, arguing that the jobs should be retained for U.S. citizens who lost jobs due to the health crisis.

 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump Immigration Louie Gohmert Mo Brooks Paul Gosar Steve King
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