U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order suspending the issuance of a number of certain employment-based visas until the end of 2020.
The order also applies to H-2B visas for short-term seasonal workers, H-4 visas for spouses of H-1B visa holders, L-1 visas for executives transferring to the U.S. from positions abroad with the same employer, as well as certain J-1 visas which are given to researchers, scholars and other specialized categories.
It will not apply to visa-holders already in the United States, or those outside the country who have already been issued valid visas.
"Temporary workers are often accompanied by their spouses and children, many of whom also compete against American workers. Under ordinary circumstances, properly administered temporary worker programs can provide benefits to the economy," the order reads.
"But under the extraordinary circumstances of the economic contraction resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak, certain nonimmigrant visa programs authorizing such employment pose an unusual threat to the employment of American workers," it continues.
Around 300,000 J-1 visa recipients come to the U.S. every year, according to the American Immigration Council.
The new restrictions will prevent about 525,000 people from entering the United States between now and the end of the year, including 170,000 green-card holders who have been barred from coming to the country since April, according to a Wall Street Journal report, citing a senior Trump administration official.
The Trump administration will grant exemptions for health-care workers focusing on treating and researching COVID-19 as well as those working in the food supply chain, including seafood and food packaging, said the report.
A number of American tech industry and other business leaders have warned that the move will weaken companies' ability to recruit top talents to the U.S. and lead them to move more operations abroad.
"Today's proclamation is a severe and sweeping attempt to restrict legal immigration. Putting up a 'not welcome' sign for engineers, executives, IT experts, doctors, nurses and other workers won't help our country, it will hold us back. Restrictive changes to our nation's immigration system will push investment and economic activity abroad, slow growth, and reduce job creation," Thomas Donohue, the CEO of U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement.
"American businesses that rely on help from these visa programs should not be forced to close without serious consideration," nine Republican senators wrote in a May 27 letter addressed to Trump, "guest workers are needed to boost American business."
The Monday order is the latest effort by the Trump administration to cater for immigration hardliners and groups, a key constituency of the president's political base that argue American workers should be prioritized, especially amid the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The new restrictions, which will take effect on June 24, expand a temporary immigration ban the Trump administration introduced in April that blocked some family members of U.S. citizens and reduced the number of high-skilled workers from immigrating to the country for the time being.
A man was killed and 11 were injured in an indiscriminate gun attack early Sunday in Minneapolis, the same city in the US state of Minnesota where George Floyd met his death.
The attack that broke out shortly after midnight (Saturday, local) in the Uptown neighbourhood of the city that is popular for its nightlife, created a dreadful environment there, forcing people to take shelter in nearby restaurants and other businesses, reports AP.
Initially, police said at least 10 people received”:serious” injuries in the gun attack. Later in a tweet, they revised their statement with latest information.
They said an unidentified man died after being taken to hospital. Besides, the injuries of the 11 were not life-threatening.
Police suspect that several shooters took part in the attack. They are trying to find out what led to the attack and arrest the perpetrators.
Describing the scenario, Fred Hwang, a manager at Hoban Korean BBQ of the area, said he heard a lot of shots. It appeared that groups of people were shooting each other, he added.
"People were trying to rush inside the restaurant for safety. It was a very scary experience. ... We have bullet holes inside our restaurant like on the walls and stuff. All of our front glass was broken and shattered,” he was describing the situation.
The Uptown area is about 5 kilometers west of the Minneapolis commercial area and neighborhood hit by rioting in the wake of George Floyd's May 25 death after being arrested by Minneapolis police.
Some of the violence from that period reached as far as Uptown, and many storefronts are still protected by plywood.
The police response is facing scrutiny in the context of Floyd’s killing, that brought out some disturbing facts about the city’s police department. The city council has already voted to ‘defund the police’ in Minneapolis.
On Saturday night, witnesses said police were slow to arrive on the scene. One of them told AP it took as long as 30 minutes after the shooting started for officers to arrive.
The police however have refuted this, with spokesman John Elder telling AP that police “converged on the area within three minutes of a 12:38 a.m. call being put out”.
Amid alarming rise in Covid-19 cases , President Donald Trump on Saturday asked his administration to slow down coronavirus testing because robust testing turns up too many cases of virus infection.
Trump told supporters at his campaign rally that the U.S. has tested 25 million people, far more than any other country. The “bad part,” Trump said, is that widespread testing leads to logging more cases of the virus.
“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more people, you’re going to find more cases,” Trump said. “So I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down, please.’ They test and they test.”
The campaign of likely Democratic presidential rival, Joe Biden, said Trump was putting politics ahead of the safety and health of Americans.
Trump opted to hold his first rally in 110 days despite concerns from local health officials that it could lead to further spread of the virus in Tulsa. Most of those in attendance declined to wear a mask.
“In an outrageous moment that will be remembered long after tonight’s debacle of a rally, President Trump just admitted that he’s putting politics ahead of the safety and economic well-being of the American people — even as we just recorded the highest number of new COVID-19 cases in almost two months and 20 million workers remain out of work," according to the Biden campaign's statement.
The outbreak has killed about 120,000 people in the U.S., and nearly a half-million worldwide, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University, though the real numbers are believed to be higher.
The number of newly confirmed cases per day has risen from about 21,400 two weeks ago to 23,200, according to an Associated Press analysis. And in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Arizona — states that loosened their stay-at-home restrictions early — daily deaths have been quietly rising since early June.
“This virus has killed nearly 120,000 Americans and cost tens of millions their jobs, in large part because this president could not and would not mobilize testing as quickly as we needed it," according to the Biden campaign statement. “To hear him say tonight that he has ordered testing slowed — a transparent attempt to make the numbers look better — is appalling.”
Rising case numbers can partially be explained by the wider availability of testing. Mild cases, previously undetected because of limits on who could be tested, are now showing up in the numbers.
U.S. President Donald Trump held his first rally in more than three months in Tulsa, Oklahoma on Saturday evening, despite warnings from health experts against large-scale gatherings amid a surge in coronavirus cases after reopening in some states.
Speaking to a crowd of supporters in the BOK Center, Trump touted his policies and tore into Democrats and media, while touching upon a series of national issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 2.2 million people and taken nearly 120,000 lives in the United States.
The president blamed the numbers on testing, a claim that has been widely disputed.
"When you do testing to that extent, you are gonna find more people, you are gonna find more cases. So I said to my people slow the testing down please," Trump said. "They test and they test. We have tests that people don't know what's going on."
The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected President Donald Trump’s effort to end legal protections for 650,000 young immigrants, the second stunning election-season rebuke from the court in a week after its ruling that it's illegal to fire people because they're gay or transgender.
For now, the young immigrants retain their protection from deportation and their authorization to work in the United States.
The 5-4 outcome, in which Chief Justice John Roberts and the four liberal justices were in the majority, seems certain to elevate the issue in Trump's campaign, given the anti-immigrant rhetoric of his first presidential run in 2016 and immigration restrictions his administration has imposed since then.
The justices rejected administration arguments that the 8-year-old Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program is illegal and that courts have no role to play in reviewing the decision to end DACA. The program covers people who have been in the United States since they were children and are in the country illegally. In some cases, they have no memory of any home other than the U.S.
Trump didn't hold back in his assessment of the court's work, hitting hard at a political angle.
“These horrible & politically charged decisions coming out of the Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people that are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives. We need more Justices or we will lose our 2nd Amendment & everything else. Vote Trump 2020!" he wrote on Twitter, apparently including the LGBT ruling as well.
In a second tweet, he wrote, “Do you get the impression that the Supreme Court doesn’t like me?"
Roberts wrote for the court that the administration did not pursue the end of the program properly.
“We do not decide whether DACA or its rescission are sound policies,“ Roberts wrote. “We address only whether the agency complied with the procedural requirement that it provide a reasoned explanation for its action. Here the agency failed to consider the conspicuous issues of whether to retain forbearance and what if anything to do about the hardship to DACA recipients.”
The Department of Homeland Security can try again, he wrote. But any new order to end the program, and the legal challenge it would provoke, would likely take months, if not longer.
“No way that’s going to happen before November,” said Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor of immigration law practice at Cornell University Law School.
DACA recipents were elated by the ruling.
“We’ll keep living our lives in the meantime,” said Cesar Espinosa, who leads the Houston immigration advocacy group FIEL. “We’re going to continue to work, continue to advocate.”
From the Senate floor, the Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said of the DACA decision, “I cried tears of joy.”
“Wow,” he went on, choking up. “These kids, these families, I feel for them, and I think all of America does.
The program grew out of an impasse over a comprehensive immigration bill between Congress and the Obama administration in 2012. President Barack Obama decided to formally protect people from deportation while also allowing them to work legally in the U.S.
But Trump made tough talk on immigration a central part of his campaign and less than eight months after taking office, he announced in September 2017 that he would end DACA.
Immigrants, civil rights groups, universities and Democratic-led states quickly sued, and courts put the administration’s plan on hold.