President Donald Trump on Thursday extended restrictions on green cards and work visas, saying the measures are needed to protect American workers amid an economy battered by the CCP virus.
The restrictions, which were issued in April and June in the form of presidential proclamations, were set to expire on Dec. 31 but will be extended until March 31, 2021.
“The effects of COVID-19 on the United States labor market and on the health of American communities is a matter of ongoing national concern,” Trump’s proclamation reads, highlighting the growing number of cases and state restrictions on businesses.
The April restrictions were for green cards issued abroad that mainly targeted family members of people already living in the United States. In June, restrictions expanded to include H-1B visas for skilled workers, H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers, J-1 visas for cultural exchanges, and L-1 visas for workers being transferred within multinational corporations.
Amid the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, at least 20 million people remain on unemployment benefits in the United States.
In October, a federal judge in San Francisco, California, ruled that the work visa ban could not be enforced against groups that sued and their members. The groups include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, technology industry group TechNet, and Intrax Inc., which manages cultural exchange programs.
The Department of Justice is appealing the decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which is scheduled to hear arguments on Jan. 19, 2021.
In December, a federal judge in Oakland, California, blocked the green card restriction from taking effect against families of 181 U.S. citizens and legal residents who sued.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.