Tech reacts to Trump’s decision to suspend H-1B visas


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The President of the United States signed an executive order on June 22 to temporarily suspend the granting of certain work visas for foreigners, such as H-1B, H-2B, H-4, L-1 and some J-1 visas. . This executive order created under the idea of ​​creating more opportunities for Americans – after the COVID-19 pandemic–– will affect half a million foreigners, according to information from The New York Times.

“American workers compete against foreigners for jobs in all sectors of our economy,” Donald Trump wrote in the executive order. “The entry of workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant visa programs present a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID outbreak- 19 “, he added.

This new restriction, which is added to the order signed in April that suspended the granting of green cards for 60 days, it will block entry to the country for highly qualified workers under the H-1B program, as well as other visa categories. In accordance with The New York TimesThis executive order added to the restrictions to obtain a green card will prevent around 525,000 immigrants from working in the United States. in the rest of the year.

In addition to affecting H-1B visas –– mostly used by the technology industry–– this new restriction also applies to the application for H-2B visas, used by temporary workers in non-agricultural gardening tasks; J-1 visas, which allow people to work and study at the same time; and to L-1 visas, used for internal transfers in companies. However, the Donald Trump government will grant some exceptions such as foreign workers in the health field, as well as those foreigners who work in the food supply chain.

Following the signing of the executive order, Google CEO Sundar Pichai disagreed and said on Twitter that “immigration has contributed enormously to the economic success of the United States, making the country a world leader in technology and has also helped Google to be the company it is today. I am disappointed by today’s proclamation, but we will continue to support immigrants and work to expand opportunities for everyone. “

“Immigrants have not only fueled technological advancements and created new businesses and jobs, but have also enriched American life,” Google spokesman José Castaneda said in a statement sent to CNET. “The continued success of the United States depends on companies having access to the best talent from around the world. Particularly now, we need that talent to help contribute to America’s economic recovery.”

For its part, Twitter stated its position and stated: “This proclamation undermines America’s greatest economic asset: its diversity. People from all over the world come here to join our workforce, pay taxes and contribute to our global competitiveness in the world stage. ” Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, Twitter’s vice president for public policy and philanthropy, said this move is “profoundly detrimental to the economic strength of the United States.”

Brad Smith, President of Microsoft, wrote on Twitter: “Now is not the time to separate our nation from the world’s talent or create uncertainty and anxiety. Immigrants play a vital role in our company and support the critical infrastructure of our country. They are contributing to this country when we need them most. “

Facebook said the president is trying to take advantage of the pandemic to limit migration, but that it will actually only make the nation’s economic recovery more difficult. A Facebook spokesperson told CNET that “the United States is a nation of immigrants and our economy and country benefit when we encourage talented people from around the world to live, work and contribute here. That is truer now than ever.” Facebook also said that these types of workers play a key role within Facebook organizations across the country, making it something that should be encouraged and not restricted.

For his part, Yann LeCun, vice president and head of the artificial intelligence department at Facebook, indicated that “if this executive order persists, American science and technology will be completely devastated. This is pure suicide.”

LeCun is an immigrant who started his career in the USA. through a J-1 visa and then extended his stay through an H-1B visa, until he obtained the green card. In his publication, LeCun talks about how throughout his career he has been a co-founder and director of academic institutes, industrial laboratories, and startups that employ hundreds of people.

Another Silicon Valley executive spoke out against Trump’s executive order is Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive, who wrote on Twitter on June 23 that “Like Apple, this nation of immigrants has always found strength in our diversity. and hope in the enduring promise of the American dream. There is no new prosperity without both. Deeply disappointed by this proclamation. “

An Amazon spokesperson told CNET that preventing highly qualified professionals from entering the United States jeopardized the country’s competitiveness. “We are grateful to the many Amazon employees around the world who have come to the United States to innovate new products and services for our customers,” added Amazon.

Elon Musk, president of Tesla and SpaceX also said on Twitter that he “strongly disagrees with this action” and said that in his experience these types of workers with job creators. “Visa reform makes sense, but this is too ambiguous,” he said.

Linda Moore, CEO of TechNet, a group focused on promoting the growth of the innovation economy and representing technology giants like Apple, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, said in a press release that the technology industry has contributed positively during the pandemic and “is working overtime to keep Americans connected during a global pandemic by providing food delivery services, telemedicine care, collaborative business solutions, and ways for families and friends to stay connected.”

“Today’s executive order only hinders companies’ ability to make decisions about how best to deploy their existing workforce and hire new employees. This will slow down innovation and undermine the work the technology industry is doing to help to our country to recover from unprecedented events, “wrote Linda Moore.

For its part, the non-profit organization American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said in a press release that this was not an economic response to COVID-19, but “a way to exploit the pandemic to establish divisive policies and change immigration law, while replacing Congress. “

The restrictions of this new executive order do not affect visa holders who are already in the United States and neither do those who are outside the country, but who have a valid visa.

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