On paper, the U.S. government’s approach to immigration hasn’t changed dramatically. The government started accepting H-1B applications for fiscal year 2019 on Monday. Meanwhile, despite President Trump’s decision in September to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, court orders have protected the nearly 800,000 “Dreamers” from mass deportations.
Still, the Trump administration’s hard-line antiimmigration stance is taking its toll.
Applicants for the H-1B visa program are anticipating the hardest process in many years. That’s affected both the applicants and the companies that employ them.
Indian consulting firms, which have been accused of flooding the system with applications, have dramatically reduced their filings. Foreign nationals are exhibiting new reluctance to make the jump to a U.S. company.
Envoy Global, a technology-oriented immigration services provider, reports that 26 percent of employers it surveyed have had to delay projects, and 22 percent of them have relocated work overseas as a result of the current uncertainties in the U.S. immigration system.
These same employers don’t seem to be interested in filling their workplace gaps with U.S.-born workers, either — 53 percent said they expected to somehow increase their foreignborn head count.
Study after study has shown that foreign-born workers are good for the U.S. economy and good for U.S.-born workers. When companies are allowed to hire the workers with the best skills for the job — regardless of where those workers happen to have been born — their increased competitiveness boosts all the industries around them.
Similarly, it’s hard to find a single economic expert who would recommend deporting the Dreamers.
The idea of deporting hundreds of thousands of young immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children — young people who speak English, went to U.S. schools and are currently entering their prime working years — isn’t just morally bankrupt, it’s economically nonsensical. A majority of Americans continue to oppose ending the program, and to blame the Trump administration for doing so.
Yet Congress still refuses to pass a bill to protect the young immigrants. Trump still offers little leadership and much misinformation about the program, recently tweeting, falsely, that “big flows of people” were trying to take advantage of it.
The U.S. has had a broken immigration system for decades. By the sounds of what we’re hearing from Washington, we’re a long way from repair.