Business leaders criticize Trump’s immigration order

Kareem El-Assal
Published: June 25, 2020

Major U.S. companies are voicing their displeasure with President Donald Trump's new Executive Order barring immigration for the rest of 2020.

Trump signed the order based on the argument that restricting permanent and temporary visas will help U.S. workers during the recession caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the critics are major technology companies that rely on employment-based visas to support their operations.

According to CNN, the H-1B visa, which is for highly-specialized workers, and the L-1 visa, which is for intra-company transfers, are two of the more popular options for such companies.

CNN also reported the following:

Sundar Pichai, the Indian immigrant who is CEO of Google stated that immigration has contributed to the success of America, its tech sector, and Google.

Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, of Twitter, said that the Executive Order would reduce America's attractiveness to global talent, and hurt the economic strength of the United States.

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Amazon issued a statement saying that the ban puts America's global competitiveness at risk.

Meanwhile, Facebook said the order will make it more difficult for the U.S. economy to recover following the COVID-19 crisis.

Microsoft President Brad Smith said that reducing immigration now will create uncertainty and anxiety.

Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, a South African immigrant, argues that visa holders are net job creators

About the U.S. immigration restrictions

In a recent analysis, Reuters discusses the impacts of the Executive Order on the following visa categories:

H-1B: The U.S. issues 85,000 H-1B visas each year to high-skilled workers, usually in the tech sector. The visas are usually valid for up to six years. During the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. issued 188,123 H-1B visas, with 131,549 going to Indian citizens, and 28,483 going to Chinese citizens.

H-2B: The U.S. issues 66,000 H-2B visas each year to seasonal non-agricultural workers, and sometimes issues more based on demand. The visas are usually valid for up to three years and are utilized in the food processing, hotel, and landscaping sectors. In the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. issued 97,632 H-2B visas, with 72,339 going to Mexican citizens.

H-4: These visas are for the spouses and children of H-1B and H-2B holders. In the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. issued 125,999 H-4 visas, of whom, 106,162 went to Indian citizens, and 5,701 to Chinese citizens.

J-1: These visas are for educational and cultural exchanges, and are valid for up to seven years. There is no cap on the number of visas issued each year. In the 2019 fiscal year, the U.S. issued 353,279 J-1 visas, with 39,920 going to Chinese citizens, 18,349 going to U.S. citizens, and 17,591 to German citizens.

J-2: These visas are for spouses and dependents of J-1 holders. In the 2019 fiscal year, 38,282 visas were issued, with 10,228 going to Chinese citizens.

L-1: These visas are for specialized company employees, are valid for up to seven years, and do not have an annual cap. A total of 76,988 L-1 visas were issued in the 2019 fiscal year. Indian citizens received 18,354 of the visas, while U.K. citizens obtained 5,902 visas, and Brazilian citizens got 5,295 visas.

L-2: These visas are for dependents of L-1 holders, and 80,720 were issued in the 2019 fiscal year. Indian citizens received 23,169 visas, while Brazilians got 7,143 visas.

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