Republicans, Immigration Hawks Call on Trump to Further Expand Immigration Restrictions Amid Economic Woes
Adam Shaw, Fox News, May 7, 2020
Republicans and immigration hawks are increasing pressure on President Trump to expand restrictions on immigration into the U.S. amid the dire economic situation — specifically calling on Trump to limit the number of temporary guest workers coming into the country.
House Republicans including Reps. Lance Gooden, R-Texas, Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., Mo Brooks, R-Ala., and Louie Gohmert, R-Texas wrote to Trump requesting he suspend temporary guest worker visas until the crisis abates.
“If the economy were booming and we had low unemployment, perhaps these measures wouldn’t be necessary,” Gooden told Fox News on Thursday. “We’re seeing 33 million Americans have lost their jobs and need to figure out how to make ends meet. We cannot be importing foreign labor to compete with them for whatever jobs are left.”
Trump signed an executive order last month after promising that he would “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.” The eventual order cited “the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor” as a reason for the restriction — as well as pressures on health care and other factors amid the coronavirus crisis.
The text of the order, which expires in late June, specifically applies to those seeking green cards from outside the U.S. — including those applying under the diversity lottery, work green cards and chain migration. But, crucially, the order doesn’t include temporary guest worker programs for workers in industries like tech and agriculture, as well as seasonal workers.
On Thursday the Labor Department announced that initial jobless claims for the week that ended May 2 totaled 3.17 million, smaller than the previous week’s total of 3.84 million. More than 33 million Americans have lost work over the past seven weeks, taking unemployment to levels not recorded since the Great Depression.
The House Republicans, in their letter, called the April executive order a “step in the right direction” but called on Trump to target guest worker programs next, noting that more than one million immigrants come in on such programs each year.
A similar letter from Republicans in the Senate calls for the suspension of new guest worker visas for either a year or until national unemployment figures return to normal levels.
Like their colleagues in the House, the Senate letter also calls for the suspension of the EB-5 immigrant visa program for foreign investors, which was exempted in the original order.
The letters come after growing dissatisfaction from immigration hawks, both outside of Congress as well as within, about the order and what they see as a failure to adequately close down immigration in response to the crisis.