Donald Trump extends restrictions on work visas, immigration till March
Outgoing United States President Donald Trump extended curbs on legal immigration and visas, that allowed foreigners to temporarily work in the country, till March 31, 2021, just hours before the restrictions were set to lapse yesterday. Despite the earlier criticism from businesses, Trump issued last-minute orders saying the continual effect of the COVID-19 pandemic steered his decision. This move will impact Indian IT professionals.
In April 2020, Trump signed an order that banned immigration to the US, while leaving some exceptions. The order, set to remain in place till June 2020, was later extended till December 31. Trump, who was never a fan of immigration, said he was protecting American workers with this action. Currently, nearly 20 million people are dependent on unemployment benefits in the US.
Unsurprisingly, Trump used the same argument in defense of the curbs. "The effects of COVID-19 on the United States labor market and on the health of American communities is a matter of ongoing national concern," his proclamation read. However, by signing the order, Trump sort of admitted that neither the pandemic was "rounding the corner" in the US, nor the economy was booming.
It should be noted that Trump's successor, Joe Biden, doesn't agree with his harsh policies linked to immigration and has promised to undo several of his actions. Trump has issued the bans in form of presidential proclamations, which can be swiftly rescinded, but the President-elect is yet to reveal if he will act immediately. Biden will take office on January 20.
The curbs, naturally, miffed businesses that heavily rely on workers from countries like India and China. In October, a San Francisco judge granted immunity to some groups who challenged these controversial curbs. As per the order, the restrictions can't be imposed on members of the US Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, technology industry group TechNet, and Intrax Inc.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel green-lit Trump's order that new immigrants must have their own health insurance. The 2-1 ruling had the support of Judge Daniel P Collins, who was appointed by Trump, and Judge Jay Bybee, the appointee of former US President George W. Bush. The dissenting judge, Judge A Wallace Tashima, was appointed by Bill Clinton.