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President Trump issues proclamation to reduce visa distribution

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — President Donald Trump is extending measures to halt new visas. Indianapolis immigrant advocates worry the ban on green cards and visas could leave some industries with fewer needed workers.

The president’s proclamation specifically names five categories of visas that will not be granted. As of right now, the proclamation only applies to those outside the U.S. seeking new visas. Immigrant advocates said a move like this could stunt America’s economic rebound from COVID-19.

The overall job unemployment rate quadrupled between February and May of this year due to COVID-19, according to the White House. In April, Trump issued his first proclamation, putting a stop to issuance of new green cards and specific work visas.

Monday he extended that measure.

“It appears that this proclamation only applies to people outside the United States and looking to enter the United States,” said immigrant lawyer Angela Adams.

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The specific visa types are H1B — for specialty occupations including IT, fashion, government-to-government research and development; H-2B — for temporary nonagriculture workers; H4s, Ls and Js.

Trump said he’s making the move to make sure immigrants and their family members don’t take jobs away from Americans looking for work.

“Specifically with the H1B visa program, those programs are designed to fill in gaps that already exist within our population,” said Amy Shackelford with the Immigrant Welcome Center. “And so we depend on those visas to bring in new talent, new knowledge, new skills to industries that are struggling to find people with those credentials”

On the contrary, Trump said in the proclamation that granting certain visas will allow for “open-market” employment authorization documents. Allowing them to be eligible to compete for any level of job.

However immigrant advocates said the pay off of having educated and skilled immigrant workers seed into national and local economy.

In indiana Immigrants account for about $2.5 billion in tax revenue according to the Immigrant Welcome Center.

“I think it’s extremely misguided and will be damaging to companies, to American companies,” said Adams.

Foreign child care workers, food supply chain workers and front-line health care workers that fall under the listed visas are exempt, so people already here with visas shouldn’t be impacted.

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