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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 TrumpNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors McCarthy: 'I would bet my house' GOP takes back lower chamber in 2022 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 CruzNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance MORE (R-Texas), Tom CottonTom Bryant CottonSunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues The Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 Democrats scramble to rescue minimum wage hike MORE (R-Ark.), Chuck GrassleyChuck GrassleyGrassley to vote against Tanden nomination Grassley says he'll decide this fall whether to run in 2022 Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation MORE (R-Iowa) and Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleySunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance The Memo: CPAC fires starting gun on 2024 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 GoodenHouse Republicans ask for briefing on threats keeping National Guard in DC READ: The Republicans who voted to challenge election results Here are the Republicans planning to challenge the Electoral College results MORE (R-Texas), Paul GosarPaul Anthony GosarRep. Gosar denounces 'white racism' after controversial appearance Texas attorney general hits links with Trump before CPAC appearance Madison Cawthorn doesn't regret participating in Jan. 6 'Stop the Steal' rally MORE (R-Ariz.) and Matt GaetzMatthew (Matt) GaetzGrenell hints at potential California gubernatorial bid Trump to reemerge on political scene at CPAC Former Trump officials eye bids for political office 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.