The Trump administration said Monday that it is extending a ban on green cards issued outside the US until the end of the year and adding many temporary work visas to the freeze, including those used heavily by technology companies and multinational corporations. The administration cast the effort as a way to free up jobs in an economy reeling from the coronavirus. A senior official estimated the restrictions will free up to 525,000 jobs for Americans. The ban, while temporary, would amount to major restructuring of legal immigration if made permanent, a goal that had eluded the administration before the pandemic, the AP reports. Business groups had pressed hard to limit their reach, saying many of these workers are essential.
The ban on new visas applies to H-1B visas, which are used by major American technology companies, and their immediate families, H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for exchange students and L-1 visas for managers of multinational corporations. There will be exemptions for food processing workers, which make up about 15% of H-2B visas, the official said. Health care workers assisting with the coronavirus fight will continue to be spared from the green-card freeze, though their exemption will be narrower. Trump imposed a 60-day ban on green cards issued abroad in April, which was set to expire Monday. After the April announcement, immigration hardliners complained that the president hadn't gone far enough.
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