Republicans House members asked President Trump to temporarily halt the guest worker program to protect American jobs during the coronavirus pandemic that has put millions on the unemployment rolls, according to a report.
The effort is being led by Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona, the Freedom Caucus chairman.
“My colleagues and I urge President Trump to suspend granting new guest worker visas for at least one year so that Americans are not forced to compete with foreign labor as our nation recovers,” he told Fox News on Wednesday.
In their letter to the president, the Republicans praised Trump for signing an executive order last month that limited immigration into the US for 60 days but called on him to include guest workers in the restrictions.
“As we respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, it is important that we continue to look out for their economic welfare,” Biggs said. “More than 36 million Americans have filed for unemployment and, even as states and counties begin to reopen, jobs are scarce.”
The jobless numbers rose again on Thursday as another 2.4 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week, the Department of Labor reported.
The total of more than 38 million unemployed means a quarter of the US workforce have become jobless in the past nine weeks.
The Republicans said Americans should have the first shot at filing any opportunity for employment.
“We should not force Americans to compete with foreign nationals while jobs are scarce, and Americans should get priority consideration for employment when businesses are able to reopen,” they say in their letter, The Hill reported. “We urge you to suspend granting any new guest-worker visas for at least one year, and potentially longer depending on the strength of the economy.”
Along with Biggs, the letter was signed by Reps. Paul Gosar of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Steve King of Iowa.
The guest worker program provides immigrants a temporary visa allowing them to live and work in the US for a specific period of time.
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