WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Trump administration today is extending and expanding its April proclamation that barred certain immigrants from the U.S. for an initial period of 60 days.
The initial order, which bans people with certain non-immigrant visas from entering the U.S. — including some immigrant family members of U.S. citizens and diversity visa applicants — is being extended through the end of the year. The administration is also reportedly expanding the order to restrict immigrants with H-1B, H-2B, L and J visas and their families from entering the U.S.
Some exceptions apply, such as for those in food processing and health care workers responding to COVID-19. The expansion also reportedly would prevent certain other immigrants from obtaining work authorization.
Hundreds of businesses including Google, Facebook, Twitter and Lyft have voiced opposition to the restrictions on temporary workers, expressing concerns over a shortage of skilled employees. Last month, a group of Republican senators sent a letter to President Trump urging him to continue to allow these non-immigrants to come to the U.S.
The changes are the latest in a slew of at least 48 immigration policy changes since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Extending and expanding a ban on immigrants does not address the challenges our nation faces as we begin the long recovery from COVID-19,” said Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum. “Advancing the false narrative that immigrants are competitors only serves to undermine the trust and unity needed to recover quickly and effectively from the pandemic and its economic effects.
“While the president divides us, immigrants are working alongside native-born Americans as part of our COVID-19 response and recovery: as health care workers, vaccine researchers, agricultural and food service workers, and countless other jobs keeping us safe and healthy.
“As we grapple with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, banning certain types of legal immigration is little more than an appeal to the president’s base and uses a national health emergency to further the administration’s anti-immigrant objectives. It does not help Americans who are struggling to recover — it will only prevent families from being reunited and harm businesses trying to recover from the economic turmoil of the past few months.
“Lawmakers should prioritize the recovery of their communities over the scapegoating of immigrants. A global pandemic that has killed more than 120,000 people in America and put millions out of work is the real enemy. Immigrants and immigration will help us win this fight.”