Where it all started?
As of May 2020, US statistical data shows a 26% unemployment rate among Americans aged between 18 to 24.
A group of five Republican senators wrote to President Donald Trump, urging him to suspend several guest worker programs, including the OPT in the belief of the unemployment rate could be reduced for amongst young Americans.
What got triggered?
The next day, all media platforms starting circulating “ Trump might restrict_____, Trump is likely to suspend_____, Trump administration is expected to_____, US might make tighter norms_____, Is trump mulling _____, Trump admin weights suspending_____, Four senators urge Trump_____, Trump reportedly wants to_____, Will Trump opt to restrict, Restrictions expected soon_____, Canada opens doors while US shuts_____ & hundreds more. Now, that blank _____ is best left to your imagine. Every unconfirmed news is similar to one another produced from different channels.
What is not circulated or covered ?
On other hand : In response of five senators to Trump, 21 Republican Members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State and Acting Homeland Security Secretary opposing the OPT suspension which is not circulated.
On May 21, 2020, A bipartisan group of Lawmakers, for the first time have introduced legislation in both the chambers of the US Congress proposing major reforms in the H-1B work visas by giving priority to the best and brightest US-educated foreign youths, a move that could benefit International students already in the country.
On June 03, 2020: With US colleges facing a 25% drop in foreign student admissions, Lawmakers proposed Donald Trump to ease the immigration process.
Where, the Lawmakers recommended prioritizing the F-1 and J-1 visas and waiving/revising certain interview requirements, as well as creating a timely application and renewal process for professors, scientists, and researchers.
By this time, you’ve realized positive news is more happening than the negative one’s. In fact, Our attentions are more focussed on the negative news, as you are afraid of consequences. Followed with the pace of viral news, most News agencies are focussed in spreading panic than static news.
What are the disadvantages, if implemented?
Restricting these programs could have an enormous impact on the tech and engineering fields. Many leading U.S. companies were founded by immigrants and depend upon these programs to employ talented international students and workers. About 18% of the entire labor force is foreign-born, with one in four STEM workers being an immigrant, according to an American Immigration Council analysis of American Community Survey data.
What will USA lose out on?
The US has a lot to lose too. According to a report by Open Doors, international students contributed $44.7 billion to the US economy in 2018.
A Businessroundtable.org report suggests: “If the administration introduces policy changes, that would lead to a 35 percent reduction in the issuance of foreign-born student visas and a 60 percent decline in OPT participation by 2020, the effect on the US economy would be negative.” ( S.uch is the impact and it is no where exaggeration)
The reports further add that since only international students in the US can avail OPT, participants are young and who contribute to major US economic growth.
COVID-19 can’t be used as an excuse to limit skilled immigration
COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on all of us, but this crisis should not be used as an excuse to allow xenophobia to stifle our future growth. The U.S. has been and always should be a nation of immigrants. Now more than ever, we must remember the importance of immigration, which has fuelled technological ingenuity and economic productivity for our entire history, shaping America’s character as a symbol of freedom and innovation.
Welcoming highly skilled and talented foreign students and workers is our best path to promoting the employment of native-born Americans. We need great minds from all corners of the world to preserve America’s technological prowess, social diversity, and economic vitality. Preserving the H-1B and OPT programs will benefit us all -Jeffrey Sonnenfeld (Yale University).
Meanwhile, the US Chambers of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue on Thursday wrote a letter to Trump, expressing concern over his reported move on temporary work visas.
The leader stressed on having H-1B visa holders, who have a work visa valid for multiple years, for various industries, including technology, accounting, and manufacturers.
In the worst case, even if there were restrictions imposed on OPT, We anticipate the H1B being prioritizing to Foreign students in USA than brining from foreign countries- US Lawmakers
Attorney’s take :
So far these are just baseless and false rumors. Please do keep in mind that administration CANNOT suspend or cancel OPT/STEM without changing immigration regulations which can take about half a year at least if not more (unless emergency rule making is made, this too takes few months), and I do not see this happening. All it can do is to suspend the “entry into the U.S. for certain class of nonimmigrants and immigrants” pursuant to Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). Administration has suspended the entry of certain “immigrants” and F-1 students with ties to research or military affiliate of Chinese government. Suspension of entry of the immigrant has been challenged at the court already. It is likely it can be ordered as overreach of presidential powers and not in consistent with laws. These Orders are based on Sections 212(f) and 215(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA)- Niranjan Adhikari (Immigration Attorney), copied statement.