Hours before restrictions on immigrant and work visas were about to expire on December 31, US President Donald Trump extended the restrictions till March 31. The restrictions were issued in April and June 2020.
President-elect Joe Biden had criticised the restrictions, while several businesses opposed restrictions that would affect certain foreign workers. The extension, Trump was necessary to ease the slump the economy faced after the coronavirus pandemic hit. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 25.7 million workers in the US are officially unemployed, having lost their jobs due to the pandemic, faced a pay cut or experienced reduction in works hours.
“The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to significantly disrupt Americans” livelihoods. While the November overall unemployment rate in the United States of 6.7 per cent reflects a marked decline from its April high, there were still 9,834,000 fewer seasonally adjusted non-farm jobs in November than in February of 2020,” Trump said in his proclamation.
The current number of new daily cases worldwide reported by the World Health Organisation, for example, is higher than the comparable number present during June, and while therapeutics and vaccines are recently available for an increasing number of Americans, their effect on the labour market and community health has not yet been fully realised, he said. “Moreover, actions such as States” continued imposition of restrictions on businesses still affect the number of workers that can be hired as compared with February of 2020,” Trump said, adding that his latest proclamation may be extended if necessary.
In October, a federal judge in California blocked Trump’s ban on foreign guest workers as the judge found the ban would cause “irreparable harm” to the businesses by interfering with their operations and cause them to lay off employees and close open positions.