Trump to sign executive order extending restrictions on foreign workers and adds other visas

Joe Biden and Democrats have slammed president's immigration moves

John T. Bennett
Washington Bureau Chief
Monday 22 June 2020 21:34
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Donald Trump will extend until the end of the year restrictions on foreign worker visas that his administration enacted in April as coronavirus swept across the country, with senior officials claiming the extension will give Americans access to over 500,000 jobs.

The president will make the extension, and add other types of visas, via an executive order he will soon sign, administration officials told reporters on Monday. Mr Trump is making the move "in light of the, frankly, expanding unemployment" in the US due to Covid-19, one of the officials said. That Trump aide said the move could help Americans now out of work because of the pandemic.

During a campaign rally on Saturday night, the president said his administration is working to quickly rebuild the US economy after it was slowed to a crawl by the virus outbreak. Independent and government analysts say at least 40 million Americans have lost their jobs during the pandemic so far.

Part of Mr Trump's plan to revive the economy appears to be blocking foreign workers from entering the country to do temporary or seasonal work.

His executive order will block guest workers from being able to obtain a green card, and is expected to apply to senior-level employees like executives all the way down to landscaping workers and other lower-skilled trades.

The order, however, will not apply to the hospitality industry or affect restaurant workers, the officials said.

Democrats, including presumptive presidential nominee Joe Biden, have for years slammed Mr Trump's hardline immigration policies.

"Fear-mongering, xenophobia, and racism are the unabashed tenets of Trump's refugee and immigration policy," the former vice president said in a statement.

"Donald Trump has made clear that he does not believe our country should be a place of refuge. He has slashed refugee admissions by more than 80 per cent and, just this past week, released an immoral and likely unlawful rule that makes it nearly impossible for most asylum-seekers to qualify for protection in the United States," Mr Biden added.

"He has cruelly separated thousands of children from their parents, sought to prevent victims of gang and domestic violence from receiving asylum, and severely limited the ability of members of the LGBTQ+ community, an especially vulnerable group in many parts of the world, from qualifying for asylum."

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