BREAKING: Trump to sign order expanding immigration restrictions to include H-1B, other guest worker programs

Per the NY Times:

Breaking News: President Trump will sign an executive order suspending foreign work visas, barring hundreds of thousands of people from coming to work in the U.S.

The move includes the H-1B program for high-skilled workers and several other categories.

Fox News reports President Trump on Monday is expected to sign an executive order that significantly expands current immigration restrictions to include a number of guest worker programs including the H-1B visa — an order the administration says will put Americans first for jobs as the economy emerges from coronavirus lockdowns.

Trump previously signed an order in April that restricted some green cards, but held off from restricting guest worker programs. While other travel restrictions at the time were meant to curb coronavirus risk, the stated purpose of the immigration order was to help Americans in the job market after the pandemic put millions out of work.

The new order extends the measure and goes further by pausing new H-1B tech worker visas, H-2B seasonal worker visas, certain J work and education exchange visitor visas and L executive transfer visas. It will be in effect until the end of the year and will not affect those who already have a visa, Fox News is told.

It will include a number of exemptions, including for health-care workers directly related to COVID-19, and for cases that are deemed to be in the national interest. Other exemptions include some that were in the original green card order, including for members of the U.S, military. The order also does not affect the H-2A agricultural guest worker program.

The order may not have a noticeable effect immediately as routines visa services have been suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic. But the administration estimates that the order will affect around 600,000 jobs before Dec. 31.

“There are an unprecedented number of Americans who are out of work, but we are also expecting to see an unprecedented growth in our economy,” a senior administration official told Fox News on Monday. “In order to ensure that we are hiring Americans first, we are putting a pause on certain non-immigrant visas into the United States, again for the purpose of ensuring that Americans can get jobs here in the U.S.”

Democrats and immigration activists are likely to oppose the order, having opposed the April order as anti-immigrant.

Leon Fresco, a former Obama administration official who now represents H-1B workers, told NPR that it was “counterproductive” and akin to “using a nuclear bomb to address a bar fight.”

Meanwhile, business groups have pushed hard against a ban they see as too restrictive and one that could hurt the economic recovery.