President Trump on Monday signed a proclamation which ‘temporarily’ suspends work visas and barring 525,000 immigrants from working in the United States between now and the end of the year.
The restrictions would block entry into the United States under the H-1B visa program for high-skilled workers, and would also affect several other categories of visas, although it would exempt health care professionals and farm workers, among others.
Businesses, including high tech companies in Silicon Valley and manufacturers, are strongly opposing the order saying it will block their ability to recruit critically needed workers from overseas countries for jobs that Americans cannot or will not perform.
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Stephen Miller, the architect of the president’s restrictive immigration policies, has pushed for years to limit or eliminate the worker visas, arguing that they harm employment prospects for Americans.
Miller recently argued that the economic distress caused by the virus has made it even more important to stop foreign entry into the United States.
The move comes after Trump in April signed an executive order that suspended for 60 days the issuance of green cards to foreigners looking to live in the US and Monday’s order extends the green-card prohibition.
Government officials said Trump would order new regulations to permanently change worker visas in the future so that more highly paid, highly-skilled workers would be offered employment to reduce competition for Americans.