The Trump administration issued a new Immigration ban (ban) which began on June 24, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. EDT. The new ban is directed at certain foreign nationals on employment-related, non-immigrant visas from entering the United States. The Trump Administration also extended the ban which it issued on April 23 regarding the entry of certain immigrants, which would have expired on June 22.
Turning to the June 24 ban, this ban is targeted specifically at suspending the issuance of H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visas. H-1B visas are traditionally issued to foreign nationals who have skills in the IT sectors such as software engineers and engineers in general. H-2B visas are generally issued to seasonal workers such as agricultural workers and hotel workers. J-1 visas are traditionally issued to interns, trainees, teachers, camp counselors, au pairs, and summer work travel exchange visitor programs. The L-1 visa was traditionally used to transfer employees between their foreign and US operations and companies who have managerial or executive experience within the company overseas and are bringing that knowledge and expertise to the United States for the benefit of the foreign company and the US economy.
The ban on H-1B, H-2B, J-1, and L-1 visas also extends to spouses and children who could have applied to accompany or follow to join the foreign national principal non-immigrant visa applicant.
H-1B workers are vital for the US economy and are used in computer-related and engineering sectors. Those sectors, for the longest period, have had extremely low unemployment rates. Therefore, the Trump Administration’s justification for the ban on H-1B visas because of the Covid-19 pandemic and high unemployment rates in the United States fails to be persuasive and, in fact, is disingenuous. H-2B workers are badly needed to harvest agricultural crops, work in agriculture, and work in the hotel and hospitality sectors. The current President’s own companies use H-2B workers because they cannot recruit American workers themselves. The reality is most American workers do not want to do the hard, tedious, difficult, and challenging work in agriculture and the hospitality industry.
As to the L1 visa ban, simply put, it does not make sense. International companies that have a presence in the United States transfer workers from their foreign operations, specifically those that have managerial or executive experience or specialized knowledge regarding a company’s products, services, research, and intellectual property. Those specialized knowledge workers or managers or executives come to the United States and help the foreign companies keep a competitive market advantage. They do not displace US workers because US workers do not have the knowledge, experience, or expertise of the foreign operations. Thus, banning L1 employees is also disingenuous.
The J-1 ban makes no sense either. The thrust of the J-1 visa is to provide intern programs for students and recent graduates of foreign colleges and trainee programs for foreign nationals with limited work experience abroad, as well as provide short-term instruction and cultural experience. No US jobs were at risk because companies were already prohibited from hosting a J-1 intern or trainee in place of hiring a worker.
The ban only applies if the foreign national is: (1) outside the US on June 24, 2020; (2) does not have a valid non-immigrant visa on June 24; (3) does not have an official travel document other than a valid visa on June 24 or issued later that permits the person to be permitted to the United States.
There are exceptions to the ban and those are as follows: (a) lawful permanent residents; (b) a spouse or child of a US citizen; (c) any person seeking entry to provide temporary labor essential to the US food supply chain; (d) any person whose entry would be in the national interest as determined by the Secretary of State, Secretary of Homeland Security or their designees.
The proclamation designates the Secretaries of State, Labor and Homeland Security to determine standards for deciding who qualifies for a “national interest” exemption, including any persons in the following categories: (a) critical to national defense, law enforcement, diplomacy or national security of the US; (b) involved with the provision of medical care to people who have contracted Covid-19 and are hospitalized; (c) involved with the provision of medical research at US facilities to protect Covid-19; (d) necessary to facilitate the nation’s immediate and continued economic recovery; and, (d) children who would age out eligibility for a visa because of the new ban or the earlier ban.
The ban will not help the US economy to recover and Americans to become employed more quickly. What it will do is severally disrupt and hamper the US economy from recovering. When American companies cannot find US workers to fill a job and foreign workers can no longer receive visas and be admitted into the United States to do those jobs, the most likely result will be that those jobs will be lost forever and the companies will seek overseas labor or outsourcing to fill those jobs. Moreover, if multinational companies cannot open or expand their operations in the US or remain competitive, then a logical result would be that those companies will take their business to other countries that welcome them and encourage their investment in those countries. The June 24 ban impacts Jamaicans and Caribbean people. Many Jamaicans have come to the US in the past, to harvest crops and work in hotels. They will no longer be able to do so. Many Jamaicans also possess skills that made them eligible for H-1B visas. They will no longer be eligible for H-1B visas. Top class quality foreign workers enhance the American economy, they do not take jobs away from American workers.
In the case of the June 24, 2020 ban, it is not helpful to the US economy. Therefore, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the ban was instituted for political reasons. If you have any questions on immigration or need representation regarding any immigration matter, I welcome the opportunity to be of service to you. You may contact me by calling me at (305) 648 3909 or via e-mail at [email protected]
About the Author
Oliver J. Langstadt is a Jamaican American attorney admitted to practice law in the state of Florida. He was raised in St. Mary Jamaica, near Highgate. He completed his high school education at the Priory School in Kingston, Jamaica. He attended the University of Miami School of Law and graduated with his law degree in 1985. He has been practicing law and immigration law for over twenty-five years. He is well-seasoned in all aspects of immigration law, including family petitions, immigrant visas, non-immigrant visas, business visas, investor visas, waivers from removal and unlawful presence, naturalization applications, and removal defense. He may be contacted at 305 648 3909 or via e-mail, at [email protected] He welcomes the chance to be of service regarding your US immigration cases and matters.