Client Alert: Rumored Trump Executive Order

June 17, 2020

RE: It All Starts With a Rumor… How Trump’s Rumored Executive Orders Could Eventually Backfire on Economic Revitalization  

Dear Valued Clients:

On April 22, 2020 the Trump Administration issued a proclamation suspending certain immigrant visas[1] under the guise of curbing the rising unemployment rate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The proclamation announced that within 30 days of its effective date, the Administration would review non-immigrant programs and possibly take measures to “help stimulate” the troubled U.S. economy.[2]

It is no secret that the Trump administration has wanted to curb the influx of immigrants and non-immigrant to the United States since taking office. With the unemployment rate at a record high of 14.7% as of April 2020[3], the Trump Administration has an opportune moment to take measures to tighten its immigration policy.

A May 7, 2020 letter from four Republican leaders urged the Trump Administration, “Given the extreme lack of available jobs for American job-seekers as portions of our economy begin to reopen, it defies common sense to admit additional foreign guest workers to compete for such limited employment,”[4] In another letter, dated May 11, 2020, Republican leaders wrote to President Trump urging the administration to continue suspension of new non-immigrant guest worker visas for a year or until the national unemployment figures return to normal.[5] These measures could potentially affect H-1B, H-2B, L-1, J-1 visas and the F-1 Optional Practical Training Program (“OPT”).

As the immigration suspension is set to expire Sunday, June 21, 2020 (with Trump’s discretion to extend) there are rumors that the Trump Administration may restrict non-immigrant visa programs to take effect as early as within 3-6 months.[6] There is speculation that the Trump Administration could bar entry for H-1B, H-2B, L-1 and J-1 applicants. There is also speculation that the Administration may impose stricter rules and regulations surrounding the H-1B and OPT programs, shortening the length of work authorization or making them more difficult to obtain.[7]

The thought process behind restricting guest worker visas to help boost unemployment is flawed.  Numerous studies have shown that a healthy U.S. economy depends on immigrants and guest worker visas.  Immigration promotes a strong gross domestic product, improves labor market conditions for both Native U.S workers and foreign-born workers, and promotes innovation and business creation.[8] Studies further show that immigrants tend to be more entrepreneurial, more likely to start new businesses and develop new technologies.[9] Immigration stimulates growth and productivity of capital. A one percent increase in immigrant population in the United States correlates to a 1.15 percent gain in GDP as compared to a 1:1 ratio by native-born Americans.[10]

Contrary to popular, erroneous belief, immigration boosts employment by increasing the pool of available labor, reducing labor shortages and filling critical skills gaps.[11] This allows business to create new job opportunities for U.S. citizen workers.[12] Take for instance, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, and a citizen of South Africa and Canada before immigrating to the U.S., or the co-founder of Instagram, Mike Krieger, a Brazilian citizen who took advantage of the H-1B visa to work in the U.S. These immigrant entrepreneurs, among so many others, brought their innovation and entrepreneurial spirit to the United States.  Their businesses have propelled the United States to the top in technological advancement. Immigration has undoubtedly helped the United States maintain it’s competitive edge in technology and innovation while also creating tech jobs for U.S. citizens. That is why it is so important to preserve guest worker programs such as H-1B and OPT.

As the United States is restricting immigration, Canada is taking measures to open up immigration. Forbes recently published an article pointing out a study that Canada is benefitting from young Indian tech workers flocking there as H-1B visas are becoming more difficult to obtain in the United States.[13] Trump’s new immigration policy, specifically targeting programs such as OPT and H-1B, has the adverse effect of exporting the best and brightest individuals the world has to offer, to other countries—a phenomenon known as “Bran Drain.”[14] These, best and brightest individuals take with them valuable tech jobs and new, innovative, companies to other countries, resulting in driving up their economy and making them our real technological competitors. The loss of talented and educated workers results in, among other things, loss of potential future entrepreneurs, shortage of important, skilled workers, loss of confidence in the economy, and loss of innovative ideas.[15] As the Trump administration continues to enact executive orders and others measures to revitalize the economy, it is slowly but surely, driving out the technological innovation the United States needs to maintain its competitive edge in science and technology.

At this point in time, it is unknown what measures the Trump Administration will take to reform its immigration policy, under the guise of boosting the economy and remedying unemployment during the COVID-19 era, however, Meyer Law Group will continue to keep their clients informed of the ongoing immigration policy changes. If you believe you may be adversely affected or have any questions or concerns please contact Meyer Law Group at info@meyerlawgroup.us to discuss your options.  Meyer Law Group offers a free initial 15-minute consultation to anyone that contacts us through our website. 

Brandon Meyer
Managing Partner
Paul Chen
Partner
Jennielyn Alcarion
Senior Attorney


[1] https://www.whitehouse.gov/presidential-actions/proclamation-suspending-entry-immigrants-present-risk-u-s-labor-market-economic-recovery-following-covid-19-outbreak/

[2] id.

[3] https://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2020/unemployment-rate-rises-to-record-high-14-point-7-percent-in-april-2020.htm#:~:text=Unemployment%20rate%20rises%20to%20record%20high%2014.7%20percent%20in%20April%202020&text=The%20unemployment%20rate%20in%20April,available%20back%20to%20January%201948)

[4] https://www.vox.com/2020/5/24/21266920/trump-h1b-opt-visa-immigration-student

[5] https://www.cnn.com/2020/06/09/politics/immigration-limits-coronavirus/index.html

[6] https://www-forbes-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.forbes.com/sites/andyjsemotiuk/2020/06/12/speculation-mounts-as-list-of-us-work-visas-to-be-restricted-grows/amp/

[7] id.

[8] See, Furchtgott-Roth, D. (2014). Does Immigration Increase Economic Growth?; Hanson, G. (2012). Immigration and Economic Growth; Peri, G., & Sparber, C. (2010). Highly-Educated Immigrants and Native Occupational Choice; and Hunt, J. (2012). The Impact of Immigration on the Educational Attainment of Natives.

[9] id.

[10] Groeger, L. (2017). The Immigration Effect. ProPublica. Underlying Analysis Performed by A. Ozimek and M. Zandi at Moody’s Analytics.

[11] Wall Street Journal. (2018). U.S. Job Openings Topped 7 Million for First Time.

[12] id.

[13]Forbes. Semotiuk, Andy J. (June 12, 2020). Speculation Mounts as List of U.S. Work Visas to Be Restricted Grows.

[14] https://study.com/academy/lesson/what-is-brain-drain-in-economics-definition-causes-effects-examples.html

[15] id.

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