As part of his effort to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the president of the United States, Donald Trump has issued an executive order temporarily halting immigration to the United States and suspending the issuance of visas to temporary workers. According to him, this move will protect the jobs of American citizens following the dent businesses suffered during this crisis. The news attracted mixed reactions from different people in the United States.
The Seattle technology community, which depends significantly on highly skilled foreign workers, is hoping that the suspension on immigration will be lifted soon. This is because the order doesn’t just affect newcomers, it also affects those who are already in the United States on the H1B temporary work visa. Immigration lawyers in Seattle are worried about what actions will follow this executive order within the next 60 days.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Washington Technology Industry Association, Michael Schutzler, said that the Coronavirus crisis already slowed down the immigration process in the United States. He said that Trump’s comment about the executive order protecting the jobs of Americans is “ludicrous” and it may be expanded post-crisis. Schutzler said that shutting down immigration will have the opposite effect because Trump is stopping people who contribute to the economy and provide jobs for others.
According to him, 4% of the 400,000 tech workers in Seattle are using the H1B temporary visas. While this might seem like an insignificant percentage, he noted that the positions this 4% occupy are critical as their jobs help create more jobs for people in Washington.
For now, the details of the executive order are still not clear. So, it is difficult to determine how far the Trump administration will go to implement it. Also, even if the term temporary was used, there is still a high chance that the administration will increase the duration of the ban indefinitely. The ripple effect will be catastrophic.