President Extends Ban on H-1 and Other Visas for Another 3 Months

By David North on January 2, 2021

President Trump, just hours before it was about to expire, extended by proclamation a ban on the issuance of visas to new H-1B workers, many other foreign workers, and overseas green card applicants. The extension will run through March 31, unless changed by the incoming Biden administration.

The journalistic response to this, not-unexpected event was revealing.

The Indian press that always covers these matters more closely than the American media took it in stride. For example Moneycontrol, a business publication, wrote this:

So how badly will the extension of the ban by three months impact IT firms or Indians?

Immigration experts and H-1B visa aspirants expect the extension to have a minimal impact.

It pointed out that Biden might change it and, in any case, U.S. embassies and consulates had just about shut down all operations, so very few visas were being issued under any circumstances. They also noted that international air travel has been reduced considerably.

In comparison to this level-headed approach, Stuart Anderson had this to say in Forbes:

Donald Trump ignored the low unemployment rate in computer occupations and other economic data to continue proclamations banning the entry of H-1B visa holders and nearly all categories of immigrants. The extension (until March 31, 2021) of the proclamations issued in April and June 2020 shows the danger of the authority under section 212(f), which critics say has allowed the president to override significant parts of U.S. immigration law based on personal ideology.

Anderson’s article was illustrated with a table showing that unemployment in the "computer occupations" was 2.3 percent in November; his source for that information is the "National Foundation for American Policy estimates using Bureau of Labor Statistics' Current Population Survey, January and October 2020. Not seasonally adjusted." How you produce an unemployment figure for November, when the data was collected in October and earlier was not explained.

And what is the "National Foundation for American Policy?" Is it a government agency like the Government Accountability Office, or a think tank like Brookings? Nope -- it is a small entity run by one Stuart Anderson.

What the Biden administration will do with the ban is an interesting question. On one hand the Democrats have been much more in favor of Covid-19 control restrictions than the Trump administration, but much more tolerant of large migration numbers. One logical response would be just to leave it alone until March 31 and then let it expire. There are plenty of other things that need to be done.