The leader of a College Republicans chapter urged President Donald Trump Tuesday to roll back temporary worker programs for foreign nationals amid the current economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Oliver Krvaric, president of the San Diego State College Republicans, told Tucker Carlson Tonight on Tuesday about the push to end guest worker programs among Republican students who will soon be competing in a job market that has shrunk dramatically in the past few months.
About 30 different Republican student groups signed a letter last week asking Trump to suspend the H-1B program and completely abolish the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program. Both programs allow foreign nationals to stay in the U.S. temporarily to work, which immigration hardliners claim leaves fewer job opportunities for U.S. job seekers.
“This letter is coming at a very strategic time in the administration,” Krvaric said to Carlson. “Just about a month ago, I think to the day, the president announced an executive order essentially banning immigration across the board.”
“But then the very next day, I and many other graduates were dismayed to see that some of the most egregious foreign worker visas were excluded from this immigration ban,” he said. “So essentially [the letter is] just giving a signal to the administration and letting them know that there’s an appetite, especially among young likely voters to take care of the egregious H-1B and OPT abuse that’s displacing American graduates and professionals across the board.”
The request comes as millions of Americans have filed for unemployment, creating a bleak outlook for those soon to graduate and joining the workforce.
Krvaric expressed consternation that guest worker programs were continuing at a time when so many Americans are out of work.
“Personally, I find it unconscionable, especially since it was an essential foreign policy, or rather, domestic policy prescription from the president, even during his time as a candidate,” Kvaric said. (RELATED: Most Americans Support Trump’s Immigration Pause Amid Coronavirus Crisis, Poll Finds)
“American patriots going back to the 1990s, even further on, have repeatedly sounded the alarm on the guest worker abuse that is displacing American workers,” he continued. “It’s puzzling to see almost four years into an administration that this is sort of an area where action has not been taken decisively.”
The OPT program, launched during the George W. Bush administration, allows foreign students on an F-1 visa to work in the U.S. for up to 12 months before the completion of their academic studies. H-1B visas are another nonimmigrant visa, allowing foreign nationals to work temporarily in the country, typically in high-skilled industries.
The Department of Labor (DOL) on Thursday revealed that 2.4 million new jobless claims were filed over the previous week. The latest numbers indicate a drop of 249,000 from the previous week’s figures, but bring the total number of jobless claims filed during the COVID-19 pandemic to roughly 39 million.
The president has taken steps intended to protect U.S. workers amid the recent wave of job losses. He announced in April that he was temporarily suspending the entry of green card applicants living abroad. However, immigration hardliners have said the order doesn’t do enough to protect working Americans.
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