Top C.E.O.s Denounce Trump Immigration Policy as Threat to U.S. Economy

8/23/2018
New York Times

"Dozens of American business leaders are challenging the Trump administration over changes to immigration policy that they say threaten the livelihoods of thousands of their skilled foreign workers, and the nation's economic growth and competitiveness as well.

"The executives, members of the Business Roundtable, expressed their "serious concern" over the administration's immigration moves in a jointly signed letter delivered late Wednesday to Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of homeland security.

"Some of the most prominent chief executives in the United States signed the letter, including Timothy D. Cook of Apple, Ginni Rometty of IBM, Jamie Dimon of JPMorgan Chase, Laurence Fink of BlackRock, Marc Benioff of Salesforce and Indra Nooyi, the departing head of PepsiCo…

"With their letter on Wednesday, the group's members took issue with a series of immigration enforcement guidelines that they said were "arbitrary and inconsistent" and created new and unnecessary hurdles for skilled foreigners working in the United States.

"The changes, the letter stated, were "causing considerable anxiety for many thousands of our employees while threatening to disrupt company operations."

"The business group's complaint focused on new guidelines and practices by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security that vets visa applications and administers immigration policy.

"The letter's main focus was the treatment of applications for, and renewals of, H-1B visas for skilled foreign workers. The visas are used by companies to hire computer engineers and other professionals.

"As a result of the changes, there has been a sharp increase in the number of denials and requests for more information. A recent analysis of government data by the National Foundation for American Policy, a nonpartisan policy research group, found that the denial rate for H-1B visa petitions had increased 41 percent in the government's fourth fiscal quarter of 2017, compared with the third quarter.

"Government examiners' requests for additional information on H-1B visa applications tripled in the same period. The government's fiscal fourth quarter began in July 2017, a few months after Mr. Trump issued his "Buy American and Hire American" executive order.

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