The United States on Thursday extended its ban on issuing new green cards and work visas to large groups of applicants to March 31, due to the coronavirus pandemic which has led to continued weakness in the US labour market.
According to a report from Bloomberg, the US President, Donald Trump, signed a proclamation that extends the immigration restrictions that took effect in April 2020 and subsequently renewed in the month of June 2020.
What the United States President is saying
Donald Trump said,
- “The effects of COVID-19 on the United States labour market and on the health of American communities is a matter of ongoing national concern, and the considerations present in the previous proclamations have not been eliminated.’’
What this means
This extension is consistent with Trump’s hard-line stance on immigration and passes on the decision over when and whether to lift bans to the President-elect, Joe Biden, who takes over office on January 20. The restrictions include a freeze on new H-1B and H-4 visas used by technology workers.
The extension to the month of March means the restrictions or ban, will be in place when President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 20, 2021.
Technology companies and the US Chamber of Commerce, the country’s biggest business lobbying organization, have been very critical of the bans, pointing out that it is damaging to the nation’s economy. The chamber and other trade groups have sued to block the restrictions.
The US unemployment rate in November was 6.7%, down from 14.7% in April at the peak of lockdown and shutdown of businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic, but more than double the 3.5% rate in February. The jobless rate for December is expected to be released on January 8.
What you should know
- In April 2020, President Donald Trump imposed a ban on green cards issued abroad that largely targets family members of people already in the United States. After a surprisingly chilly reception from immigration hawks, the administration went much further in June by adding H-1B visas, which are widely used by American and Indian technology company workers and their families; H-2B visas for non-agricultural seasonal workers; J-1 visas for cultural exchanges; and L-1 visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.
- Trump, while announcing the ban, said the measures would protect American jobs in a pandemic-wracked economy, while business groups said they would hamper a recovery.