Courtesy of Politico
By Anna Harvey
As of last week, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announced an executive order that would ban immigration into the United States for 60 days. This ban applies only to individuals seeking green cards or permanent residence within the United States. Trump additionally stated that by halting immigration, unemployed Americans may have a better chance at employment after the coronavirus measures are lifted.
This executive order on the immigration ban comes after a series of changes to the immigration system within the past couple of weeks. During this time period, the Trump administration paused deportation flights, postponed immigration hearings, suspended refugee admissions, and removed migrants detained at the border.
According to ABC News, 26,000 green card applicants may be blocked each month, in spite of the exceptions outlined within the executive order. Immigrants who already reside within the United States or have specific visas still can obtain permanent residency within the country. Consequently, with the suspension in place, employment-based visa slots may now open up.
Trump did state that this ban would not affect workers entering the US on a temporary basis. According to CNN, a possible reason for this exception is that temporary work visas are more complicated to address than green cards. Additionally, since many of these workers are employed within food production plants and health care industries– that are essential amidst the coronavirus pandemic – they are more likely to stay employed. The Trump administration also announced that they would amend visa restrictions for foreign workers who work in the agricultural industry. These changes would allow employers to hire workers already in the United States with a certain visa status.
While Trump initially framed the immigration ban as a method to save jobs for American citizens, experts are uncertain of any economic benefits. Many researchers conclude that, according to numerous studies, immigration is beneficial to the American workforce. Contrary to Trump’s assertions that the ban would help American jobs, an NEAP policy brief reports that immigration helps to limit unemployment and raise employment rates of U.S. citizens.
“A 1 percentage point increase in the share of the labor force comprised of immigrants appears to reduce the unemployment rate of US natives in the same sex-education group by 0.062 percentage points, on average,” the brief states.
The executive order will allow American citizens to bring children or spouses back into the country, but the path to either living or working in the U.S. for immigrants will be blocked during the 60-day ban. According to The New York Times, the new policy may impact up to 660,000 individuals.