The National Association of Manufacturers today urged President Donald Trump to lift a June 22 executive order that suspended new work visas and prevents foreigners from seeking work in the U.S.
“We urge you to lift the restrictions in the June 22 proclamation and to work with Congress to identify ways to ensure these visa programs continue to provide benefits to American workers and the U.S. economy,” Jay Timmons, NAM’s president and CEO, wrote.
“Embassy closures and travel restrictions in place since the beginning of this year have already caused uncertainty for businesses with plans to invest in manufacturing in the United States,” Timmons said in the letter. “This has caused many investments in America to stall. The June 22 proclamation adds additional strain for these manufacturers, with many employees unable to do their jobs.”
The Trump administration has tightened U.S. immigration policy. In the June 22 order, the administration cited the economic impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) as a reason to suspend the work visas. The order covered a variety of work, including skilled workers under the H-1B visa.
“Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers,” the order reads. “Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy. But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers.”
NAM, in its letter, said until the order is lifted the administration should take steps to help manufacturers:
“--Expand the range of exemptions for visa restrictions to ensure critical industries can maintain access to talent;
“--Provide details and consistent standards on exemptions and establish a clear process for organizations to apply for exemptions;
“--Establish a process for industry to provide feedback on the impacts of the restrictions and suggestions for modifications at the State Department, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor;
“-- Ensure that travel restrictions are determined by global health metrics and provide clarity on how the administration will evaluate the continued need for travel restrictions, offering avenues for testing and self-quarantine to accommodate necessary health and safety measures to make travel safe; and
“- Provide details to stakeholders on how the Administration will ensure training, education and apprenticeship programs funded by H-1B fees are not interrupted by the current restrictions.”
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