by Jason Hopkins
President Donald Trump may prohibit some temporary workers from entering the U.S. in an executive order later this month, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Trump’s anticipated order, much like his recent immigration ban, is meant to help mitigate the spread of coronavirus while protecting U.S. workers amid a monumental downturn in the economy, the WSJ reported.
“If we are taking actions on immigration that help improve public health, help improve the economy, help improve jobs, it’s a vindication or validation that the president was right since day one,” an unidentified senior official with the Department of Homeland Security told the WSJ.
The order would target H1-B visas, which are set aside for highly skilled workers, seasonal migrant workers on H-2B visas, and also student visas that can include work authorization, according to the WSJ.
Officials who spoke with the WSJ said that the administration is not only looking to push a new executive order on temporary workers, but it also wants to keep in place some of the immigration restrictions for months or even years to come — even after the coronavirus pandemic has dissipated.
In response to the outbreak of the coronavirus within the U.S., the Trump administration has temporarily closed off all non-essential traffic throughout the northern and southern borders. More recently, the president issued an executive order that temporarily bars many green card applicants abroad and those on the visa lottery system from entering the country.
At the time of his immigration ban, Trump left the door open to expanding it or even signing another immigration order.
However, immigration hardliners at the time voiced their disappointment with the order, saying it didn’t go far enough because it still allowed thousands of temporary workers to enter the U.S. and compete with American workers at a time when the economy is dramatically contacting.
Four Republican senators — Ted Cruz of Texas, Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Tom Cotton of Arkansas — delivered a letter to the president on Thursday, asking him to extend his immigration ban and expand it to include employment-based immigration.
The lawmakers asked Trump to pump the brakes on guest worker visas for 60 days, and requested a suspension on new non-immigration guest workers for a year or until U.S. employment figures get back to normal levels.
Recent polling suggest that the American public supports immigration restrictions during this time of crisis.
A survey conducted by The Washington Post and University of Maryland found that Americans not only back state-imposed restrictions on public gatherings and businesses to mitigate the COVID-19 outbreak by strong margins, but they also favor a moratorium on immigration similar to the order issued by the president.
The poll, conducted from April 21 to 26, found that 65% of Americans support a temporary ban on almost all immigration into the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic, while only 34% oppose such an order.
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Jason Hopkins is a reporter for the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Farm Workers” by US Department of Agriculture. CC BY 2.0.