To fast-track coronavirus recovery Republicans ask Trump not to suspend seasonal guest worker visas

Tucker Carlson: Unemployment numbers surge in America, as do work visas

Fox News’ Tucker Carlson says President Trump should act on the number of work visas the Department of Homeland Security allocates to foreigners to ensure they don’t price Americans out of the job market as unemployment claims continue to rise amid the coronavirus pandemic.

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As the U.S. economy begins to slowly reopen, a group of GOP senators voiced concern that a loss of temporary or seasonal guest workers could stunt its recovery.

In a letter sent to President Trump on Wednesday, the senators made their case for not suspending or restricting non-immigrant temporary visa programs – like H-2A and H-2B – which they argue help small businesses that are already suffering as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

“American businesses that rely on help from these visa programs should not be forced to close without serious consideration,” the senators wrote. “Guest workers are needed to boost American business, not take American jobs.”

Some sectors that rely on temporary or non-immigrant guest workers include farming, forestry, packing, hospitality, health care, and communications and information technology. About 300,000 positions were certified by the Department of Labor in 2019 after companies showed that they could not fill the jobs with qualified American workers.

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Meanwhile, as a result of the pandemic, nearly 8 million small businesses are on the brink of having to close, the senators added.

More than 38 million Americans have filed for unemployment since mid-March, which sparked concerns among the group that the president may seek to promote the American workforce at the expense of guest worker programs.

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Four Republican senators, including Texas' Ted Cruz and Arkansas' Tom Cotton, requested earlier this month that Trump suspend “certain categories of new guest worker visas for at least the next year, or until unemployment has returned to normal levels.”

They argued that young people should have access to temporary summer employment, positions typically occupied by H-2B workers. They also called for restricting H-1B immigration, arguing that recent college graduates and other unemployed Americans should not have to compete with incoming workers for STEM jobs.

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The letter on Wednesday reasoned that it is difficult to find Americans who want to work on a temporary basis – and that unemployed Americans may not be qualified or desire these positions. It was signed by Republicans Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Texas Sen. John Cornyn and Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski, among a handful of others.

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