- H-1B visas, who take white-collar U.S. jobs
- H-4 visas, who are the spouses of H-1B visa holders
- H-2B visas, who take blue-collar nonagricultural U.S. jobs
- L visas, who take white-collar U.S. jobs
- J-1 visas, who take a variety of blue-collar and white-collar U.S. jobs
“Obviously American workers have been hurt, and it’s nobody’s fault that the coronavirus hit, but it did do a blow to the economy and to businesses who were furloughing and laying people off, and we want to make sure that Americans get hired into those spots,” said Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli.
Altogether, the order is expected to free up about 600,000 American jobs for the more than 30,000,000 Americans who are jobless mostly due to the Chinese coronavirus crisis. That includes about 287,000 U.S. jobs freed up for Americans that would have otherwise been taken by H-1B, H-2B, and L-1 visa workers, according to Cuccinelli.
Halting the J-1 visa program through the end of the year is set to free up about 97,000 U.S. jobs that would have otherwise gone to foreign workers. The order will be up for expansion within 30 days and reviewed every 60 days after that date. Those reviews include evaluating all regulations relating to visa programs. Cuccinelli credited the April order’s 60-day review process for giving the administration time to consider Monday’s expansion.
The order includes a handful of exemptions, such as an exemption for foreign au pairs who arrive on J-1 visas to do low-wage nanny work for mostly wealthy American households. Also exempted are H-2B visa workers taking U.S. jobs in the food industry, J-1 visa workers taking U.S. jobs in coronavirus-related medical research or treatment, and the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa program, which delivers foreign graduates to multinational corporations at discounted wage rates.
DHS Secretary Chad Wolf and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are given authority to exempt visa workers from the order if they are deemed “necessary to facilitate the immediate and continued economic recovery of the United States.”
A DHS official told Breitbart News the exemption is for specific foreign visa workers who are vital to putting Americans back to work.
“The president is confident this is going to be very popular with the American people,” Cuccinelli said. “It’s proven popular thus far — to start clearing this space … and it is the kind of thing that, frankly, some people on the other side of the aisle have supported in the past.”
Indeed, reductions to overall immigration in the middle of mass unemployment are hugely popular with Americans.
In April, nearly 80 percent of Americans said they wanted immigration halted to the U.S. during the crisis and amid mass unemployment. This month, majorities of 55 to 85 percent of voters in ten swing states said they want less immigration at the moment.
Every year, the U.S. admits about 1.2 million legal immigrants on green cards to permanently resettle in the country. In addition, another 1.4 million foreign workers are admitted every year to take American jobs. Often, Americans are fired and replaced by visa workers. Many are forced to train their foreign replacements.
This is the first time in American history that a president has used this particular executive order authority to reduce annual legal immigration levels, one administration official said. Trump’s authority over immigration, like all other presidents, is vast and broad.
In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the president’s control over legal immigration. In Trump v. Hawaii, the court stated that presidents have extraordinarily broad discretion to admit or exclude foreign nationals from the U.S. when they believe doing so is in the national interest.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.