GOP lawmakers press Trump to suspend visas over coronavirus job losses

GOP lawmakers press Trump to suspend visas over coronavirus job losses
© Greg Nash

Four GOP senators are urging President TrumpDonald John TrumpTwitter CEO: 'Not true' that removing Trump campaign video was illegal, as president has claimed Biden formally clinches Democratic presidential nomination Barr says he didn't give 'tactical' command to clear Lafayette protesters MORE to suspend immigration for guest workers as the U.S. economy struggles to recover from the coronavirus outbreak.

Politico first reported a letter from Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzFormer Trump adviser Jason Miller to join reelection campaign Texas Republicans call on county GOP chair to resign for saying Floyd's death was staged Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony MORE (R-Texas), Tom CottonThomas (Tom) Bryant CottonNYT says Tom Cotton editorial 'did not meet our standards' Engel says he refuses to seek NYT endorsement over Cotton op-ed Cotton praises NY Times for 'standing up to the woke progressive mob' in publishing opinion piece MORE (R-Ark.), Chuck GrassleyCharles (Chuck) Ernest GrassleyThe Hill's Morning Report - DC preps for massive Saturday protest; Murkowski breaks with Trump Murkowski, Mattis criticism ratchets up pressure on GOP over Trump CBO releases analysis on extending increased unemployment benefits MORE (R-Iowa) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyGOP shifting on unemployment benefits as jobless numbers swell Rosenstein takes fire from Republicans in heated testimony Republicans turning against new round of ,200 rebate checks MORE (R-Mo.) calling on Trump to suspend guest worker visas for 60 days and prevent some workers from returning to the U.S. for up to a year.

"We write today regarding employment-based immigration into the United States during our country's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic," the four senators wrote. "Specifically, we write to urge you to suspend all new guest worker visas for sixty days, and to suspend certain categories of new guest worker visas for at least the next year."

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Exceptions to the ban should only be allowed for companies that can prove they can't hire U.S. citizens to fill their open positions, the four senators continued.

A number of House Republicans, including Reps. Lance GoodenLance GoodenGOP lawmakers call for new sanctions on senior Chinese officials Hillicon Valley: Uber lays off 3,000 | FBI unlocks Pensacola shooter's phones | Lawmakers introduce bill restricting purchase of airline equipment from Chinese companies Bipartisan bill would restrict purchases of airport equipment from Chinese companies MORE (R-Texas), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarConservative lawmakers press Trump to suspend guest worker programs for a year Impeachment figure among those chosen for Facebook's new oversight board Cruz rebukes San Antonio City Council for denouncing 'Chinese virus' as hate speech MORE (R-Ariz.) and Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzHillicon Valley: Zuckerberg on the defensive over Trump posts | Twitter labels another lawmaker's tweet | USTR opens probe into digital taxes GOP lawmaker wants probe of UPenn's Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement Twitter restricts tweet from Gaetz for glorifying violence MORE (R-Fla.), have signed on to a similar effort, writing in their own letter to Trump that "unaddressed guest worker programs" represent a "greater threat" than did green cards.  Trump suspended new applications for green cards in April.

The letters come as tens of millions of U.S. workers have filed for unemployment benefits amid the coronavirus outbreak, which has forced many nonessential businesses around the company to temporarily shutter. Economists have warned that high costs associated with the shutdown could force many businesses to remain closed permanently.

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Lawmakers have provided funding for loans to support small businesses in previous stimulus bills, but the path for any additional legislation is unclear.

Payroll services provider ADP said on Wednesday that the U.S. private sector shed about 20 million jobs during the month of April, a shock to the economy that analysts called "unprecedented."

"The total number of job losses for the month of April alone was more than double the total jobs lost during the Great Recession," Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute, said.

The Labor Department will release May unemployment data on Friday.

Updated at 12:55 p.m. to include information about the House effort.