They Worked in the US on Visas. But Coronavirus and Trump’s New Order Split These Indian Families Apart

Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2020.

Last month, the White House expanded a measure severely restricting visas being issued to temporary foreign employees, many of whom work in California in specialized technology jobs. The H-1B applies not only to software engineers, but also to other high-skilled workers such as doctors, lawyers, architects and academics. The order also affects H-2B visas, for seasonal employees; L-1 visas, for corporate executives; and J-1 visas, for scholars and exchange programs.

Administration officials estimated the move would “protect” more than 500,000 jobs amid the pandemic. But many employers in the tech industry and entrepreneurs say that there is no evidence to back the claim that immigrants have taken jobs from Americans who’ve been thrown out of work because of the virus.

“There is a reason why we have the H-1 visa system — it’s so we can bring people who have the skills not available here in the US to this country,” said Chris Hopfensperger, executive director of, a nonpartisan research organization based in Washington, DC, that aims to help policymakers understand software’s effect on the economy and society. “[Software] is not an industry where you see US workers being displaced. If anything, by bringing them, we are creating more jobs in the US.”

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