Pres. Trump signed an Executive Order on Wednesday night that had been built up as an immigration moratorium. But the actual order does nothing to pause the hundreds of thousands of nonimmigrant visas issued each year and only delays the granting of a limited number of green cards.
Shortly before the order's public release, Pres. Trump said:
"By pausing immigration, we'll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens. So important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad."
By not pausing the importation of guest workers, however, the order will ultimately provide little relief for American workers.
Here's what the Executive Order does:
- It has no impact on nonimmigrant visas that are issued each year, including H-1B high-skilled guest workers, H-2A agricultural guest workers, H-2B low-skilled, non-agricultural guest workers, cultural exchange students who often come to the United States to work seasonal jobs, and employment authorization for foreign students graduating from U.S. colleges and universities, otherwise known as the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program.
- The order freezes the issuance of green cards for 60 days to visa lottery winners and non-nuclear adult family members, but only if all three of the following conditions exist: 1) they're not currently in the United States, 2) they haven't already received an immigrant visa, and 3) they don't have an official travel document to enter the United States.
- The order freezes most employment-based green cards, however the freeze exempts healthcare workers and EB-5 foreign investor visas that mostly go to wealthy Chinese nationals.
Most individuals who would have received green cards over the next 60 days will simply have to wait until after the Executive Order lifts to receive their green cards. In effect, the order will have little to no impact on the actual number of foreign workers authorized to enter and work in the United States, providing little relief for American workers, if any at all.
You can read the full Executive Order by clicking here.
Updated: Thu, May 7th 2020 @ 8:20am EDT