UPDATED 2:15 PM PT – Friday, January 1, 2021
President Trump decided to renew restrictions on work visas for immigrants trying to enter the United States. In a White House statement Thursday, the President named the ongoing effects of the pandemic as a reason for the move. He also reminded Americans of the great work done over the last year.
“Whenever America is challenged, we always rise to the occasion. We are bringing critical medical manufacturing back home to America,” President Trump stated. “We have secured our borders and paused immigration to protect American workers. We lowered drug prices for the first time in 51 years.”
The President’s original order, dating back to April 2020, was set to expire just ahead of the extension. It restricted some temporary and student visas as well as H1-B work visas, which allow specialized workers to seek employment with American companies.
Supporters of the decision argued that limiting entry shields Americans from foreign competition and protects their jobs.
The President recently touted the U.S.’s recovering economy, highlighting the strong decrease in unemployment.
“We have slashed the unemployment rate from 14.7 percent to 6.7 percent, and a lot of people thought the 14.7 percent could be 32 or 40 or 45 percent. Now we’re down to 6.7 percent and heading a lot lower,” President Trump said.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 31, 2020
The President’s extension also affected the Diversity Visa lottery, which allows immigrants from underrepresented countries to move to the U.S. The order will stay in effect until March 31, or until it is ended by the President.