Outgoing President Donald Trump extended two immigration bans on Thursday, preventing many green card applicants and foreign temporary workers from entering the country. The administration argues that these measures protect American workers in an economy hit badly by the pandemic.
The bans, which were first launched in April 2020 and renewed in June, were due to expire on 31 December, but will be extended until at least March 31, 2021. This is expected to be one of the final immigration curbs taken by the current administration before leaving the White House.
Companies across the country, who have long relied on foreign talent, have voiced their opposition to the blockade of certain workers and have tried to reverse it, though none have yet succeeded. President-elect Joe Biden, who will take office on January 20, has criticized the restrictions, but has not stated whether he would immediately cancel them at the start of his presidency. Trump issued both measures in the form of presidential proclamations that can theoretically be quickly and easily undone.
In October, a federal judge in California blocked Trump’s ban on foreign ‘guest workers’, affecting hundreds of thousands of U.S. companies. According to the judge, the restrictions would cause “irreparable harm” to businesses by interfering with their operations and forcing them to fire employees and close vacant positions. The restrictions apply to new H-1B visas used by professional and technology workers; H-4 visas awarded to H-1B holders’ spouses; Seasonal workers’ H-2B visas; L-1 visas for executives and managers transferred within companies; and certain J-1 visas issued to interns, trainees or people on work-study summer programs. Visa holders already in the U.S. or with already approved visas are exempted from the ban. The Justice Department appealed the decision to the Court of Appeal of the 9th Circuit, which is scheduled to hear its arguments on January 19.
Are you a foreign worker waiting to enter the U.S., or need help with your work visa or green card application? Get in touch with one of our immigration lawyers today.
The above information is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice.
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