President Donald Trump has exempted the Fortune 500’s international labor supply from his order for a temporary immigration shutdown.
“This order will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency,” Trump said in an April 21 press conference at the White House. He said:
It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker — take care of the American worker. This pause will be in effect for 60 days, after which the need for any extension or modification will be evaluated by myself and a group of people, based on economic conditions at the time.
[It] will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis. As we move forward, we’ll examine what additional immigration-related measures should be put in place to protect U.S. workers. We want to protect our U.S. workers and I think as we move forward, we will become more and more protective of them … The last thing we want to do is take American workers’ jobs.
Thee white-collar reporters did not ask Trump why he exempted the corporate visa workers from taking jobs away from other white-collar Americans. One reporter, however, asked him if he is using the coronavirus epidemic to fulfill a campaign promise to reduce legal immigration.
“I want our citizens to get jobs — I don’t want them to have competition,” Trump responded, adding that the policy document is being drafted for signature, likely on Wednesday.
“The decision not to block guest worker programs — for now — is a concession to the backlash from business groups who assailed the White House on Tuesday,” reported a New York Times article.
“President Donald Trump’s new executive order banning immigration to the United States will apply narrowly to those seeking permanent immigration status, a senior administration official said on Tuesday,” said a Reuters report. The report added, “Other workers such as those on so-called H1-B visas would be covered in a separate action, the official said.”
The rollback of the expected curbs on visa programs will be a huge disappointment to the many American graduates who say they have been pushed out of Fortune 500 jobs and careers by the alliance of U.S. investors, managers, and foreign visa workers.
Many advocates for American graduates & workers cheered when Trump announced his temporary immigration shutdown.
Business & investors, of course, oppose any shutdown of their foreign-graduate pipeline. #H1B https://t.co/gw402H0wWZ
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) April 21, 2020
So Trump will come under increasing pressure during the 2020 campaign to fulfill his 2016 promise to curb the H-1B visa. That pressure will come from millions of swing-voting graduates who see good jobs disappearing all around them — and see the major companies employing roughly 1.5 million white-collar visa workers.
In fact, his promise of the 60-day review is his invite to millions of swing-voting American graduates to rally against the visa worker programs during the 2020 presidential election.
The college graduate protest will be spiked by the continued economic turmoil and the routine inflow of foreign visa workers. For example, Trump’s federal government is on track to allow U.S. companies to import 85,000 new H-1B workers during the next several weeks.
Fortune 550 companies, smaller companies, and universities keep a population of roughly 1.5 million visa workers in U.S. jobs, and they also use those workers to transfer many additional jobs to corporate allies in India and other countries.
The NYT article did not include any detail about the draft directive, which may split the difference between business demands and the public’s support for a shutdown of immigration and of many visa worker programs.
But the article included comments from advocates for the nation’s powerful and wealthy technology companies.
Business groups had exploded in anger on Tuesday at the threat of losing their access to foreign labor .
“This is both a political act to demagogue and distract from his awful handling of the Covid-19 crisis and lack of testing,” said Todd Schulte, the president of FWD.us, a technology group that advocates for immigration, “and it is also a policy effort by hardliners to use this crisis to enact their awful, decades-old wish list to radically slash immigration.”
Jason Oxman, president of the Information Technology Industry Council, a tech industry trade group, said in a statement earlier on Tuesday that “the United States will not benefit from shutting down legal immigration.”
The members of Oxman’s group include Accenture, Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, IBM, and PWC. Many of these Fortune 500 companies sideline American graduates to hire foreign visa workers via programs such as the H-1B and Occupational Practical Training program.
The ITI group also includes some of the Indian-run outsourcing companies that import many visa workers from India. The Indian-run companies include Cognizant and Tata Consultancy Services. Indian-run companies supply visa workers to many banks, insurance companies, utilities, auto manufacturers, and many other companies.
Oxman’s April 21 statement said:
Some of the most recognizable and dynamic American technology companies were started by immigrants, and today’s immigrants to the U.S. are valuable members of the U.S. technology industry workforce … the United States will not benefit from shutting down legal immigration. Tech workers – whether from the United States or another country – are playing an essential role in America’s response to COVID-19. They will be vital to the U.S. economic recovery and must remain part of the workforce. We urge President Trump not to endanger the country’s economic recovery by closing its economy to the rest of the world.
Trump’s migration suspension will protect wages, esp. for blacks & Latinos, says WH press secretary.
That might mean easy action against the abuse of B-1 visitor-not-worker visas.
But there’s far, far more corp.-$$$$ in the college-grad #H1B H-1B visas.https://t.co/n7sQl2O5rQ
— Neil Munro (@NeilMunroDC) April 21, 2020
Todd Schulte’s FWD.us group was created by West Coast investors, including Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates, to help pass the 2013 “Gang of Eight” wage-cutting amnesty bill.
Many polls show that American voters like — and want to like — immigrants. But the polls also show that the public strongly objects to companies hiring foreign workers before American employees. For example, an August 2017 poll reported that 68 percent of Americans oppose companies’ use of H-1Bs to outsource U.S.-based jobs that could be held by Americans.
Administration officials are touting the draft policy as a boost to blue-collar wage earners but apparently not to white-collar graduates:
FLASHBACK: Senator Bernie Sanders in 2015: “You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those [American] kids?” https://t.co/vgF2IJz3MR
— Kayleigh McEnany (@PressSec) April 21, 2020