Trump Signs Sweeping Executive Order To Suspend Non-Permanent Work Visas

President Donald Trump

The White House announced today that President Trump has signed an Executive Order that would suspend the issuing of several classes of work visas for non-permanent visitors to the United States.

The visa classes targeted for suspension will include: H1-B (highly-skilled workers), H2-B visa (low-skilled workers), J-1 (highly-skilled students, trainees, and teachers), L (intracompany transfers) and H4 (spouses of H1-B holders). The issuance of new visas in these classes will be suspended until December 31, 2020. Trump had previously ordered a temporary halt to new green cards for 60 days beginning in April, but had not previously targeted temporary work visas.

The White House claimed that the move is intended to preserve American jobs in the wake of high unemployment rates related to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Trump administration attacks on legal immigration pre-date the COVID-19 outbreak, and he campaigned on a platform of xenophobia and nativism. Thus, the White House appears to be seizing the Coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to advance hardline anti-immigrant policies.

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