Trump's new visa freeze order: reactions

Google CEO Sundar Pichai. File   | Photo Credit: AP

U.S. President Donald Trump has issued a proclamation to suspend issuing of H-1B visas, which is popular among Indian IT professionals, along with other foreign work visas for the rest of the year.

Mr. Trump said the step was essential to help millions of Americans who have lost their jobs due to the current economic crisis.

Here are a few reactions:


Disappointed by today’s proclamation, says Sunder Pichai

Google CEO Sunder Pichai took to Twitter to express his disappointment. He wrote: "Immigration has contributed immensely to America’s economic success, making it a global leader in tech, and also Google the company it is today. Disappointed by today’s proclamation - we’ll continue to stand with immigrants and work to expand opportunity for all."


Racist and xenophobic show, says CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights

In a statement, Vanita Gupta, President and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, slammed the latest move of the Trump administration. "The latest travel ban is a new season of the same racist, xenophobic show put on by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller...But Trump’s transparent effort to rally his base and distract from his innumerable failures, including his disastrous response to COVID-19, will not work. Indeed, the courts will stop his unlawful actions targeting immigrants," Gupta said. Like the past versions of this overused script using a pandemic to justify white nationalist policies, it deserves to be cancelled, she said.


Knowing how to tap foreign talent is a U.S. strength, says Alice G. Wells

Alice G. Wells, who till a few weeks ago was the point person of the Trump administration for South and Central Asia, also opposed the move.

"Being able to attract the best and the brightest through the H1-B visa programme has made America more successful and resilient. Knowing how to tap foreign talent is a U.S. strength, not a weakness!" Wells said.


This proclamation will make emerging from this crisis more difficult and expensive: AILA President

"The ban on issuing H-1B, H-2B, J-1 and L-1 visas will harm employers, families, universities, hospitals, communities, and delay America’s economic recovery," the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) said.

"Being able to draw on the best and brightest from around the world has always been an incredible advantage for America. This presidential proclamation ignores this reality and will make emerging from this crisis more difficult and expensive," AILA President Jennifer Minear said.


This move is bad for our recovery: Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

The Trump administration’s latest travel ban targeting people who come to the United States as temporary workers, students, and visitors who participate in international exchange programmes is a thinly-veiled attempt to radically shift immigration policy by proclamation. This is not about public health or the economy, said Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council.

This is yet another attempt to reduce immigration — even temporary immigration — under the guise of a public health crisis, said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. This order will shut the door on more than 1,60,000 foreign-born workers and the families they support, she added. These changes are made in the name of protecting American jobs, but a significant number of these visas are allotted to family members of highly-skilled immigrants, she noted. Approximately 45,000 wives, husbands, sons, and daughters will be barred from the country — how does excluding immigrant children protect American jobs? Vignarajah said. We are slamming the door on talent, entrepreneurship, and innovation that we literally cannot find anywhere else, concluded Vignarajah.

This move is bad for business, bad for our recovery, and bad for America’s standing on the worldwide stage. Politics should not trump smart policy — we should be harnessing the ingenuity of these workers to revive an economy in dire straits, she said.


Suspending this programme will only weaken our economy: Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi

"I’m deeply disappointed by President Trump’s misguided order to suspend these key work visa programmes. I urge him to reverse this decision to help ensure our health care system and broader economy are ready to combat the next phase of (coronavirus) pandemic and to create the jobs we need for our economic recovery," Indian American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi said.

The H-1B programme in particular plays a crucial role in addressing dangerous shortage of health care professionals while also providing other key sectors of our economy with talent from around the world to not only fill jobs, but create new ones, he said. Suspending this programme will only weaken our economy and our health care workforce at a time when the need to strengthen both is as clear as ever, Krishnamoorthi said.


This is not the right approach, said Senator Democratic Whip Dick Durbin and Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Ro Khanna. We need to mend the H-1B programme, not end it. Instead of suspending H-1B visas, the Trump Administration should ask Congress to pass the H-1B and L-1 Visa Reform Act of 2020, which reforms the H-1B program with a scalpel, not a sledgehammer, the three top American lawmakers said.


Congresswoman Donna E. Shalala alleged that Trump is now attacking American businesses - and jeopardising the economic recovery - in service of xenophobia. America will be poorer and less competitive because of it, she said.

"This Executive Order is yet another example of President Trump using the coronavirus pandemic to advance a hateful and extreme anti-immigrant agenda," said Congresswoman Chellie Pingree.

- With inputs from PTI

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Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 8:35:42 AM |

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