(CMC) — New York Attorney General Letitia James is co-leading a coalition of 23 attorneys general across America in fighting moves by President Donald Trump to curtail legal immigration and temporary work visa programmes for immigrants.
In an amicus brief on Monday supporting the plaintiffs, the coalition calls for an injunction against the enforcement of two presidential executive orders that would suspend large swathes of America’s legal immigration system and several of its most important non-immigrant work visa programmes.
The coalition argues that the participation of immigrants and other foreign-born employees in the workforce is critical to economic development, and that the order will prolong the separation of families.
“As the coronavirus pandemic rages on, our nation needs all the economic relief we can get, but the Trump administration continues to strip economic opportunities from states and immigrant workers by placing arbitrary and unconstitutional restrictions on entry,” James told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
“This order will cause irreparable harm to our economies and communities, and our coalition will use every tool at our disposal to fight it,” she added.
On April 22, Trump issued an executive order banning from entry most immigrants being sponsored by US citizens or legal permanent resident family members, by their employers, or who had won the diversity visa lottery.
The April order was set to expire in 60 days but was renewed on June 22.
The June order also added new bans on non-immigrant workers arriving on H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas.
James said without an injunction, the June order will be in effect until December 31 “and may be further extended”.
She said if allowed to remain in effect, these orders will bar more than 500,000 people from entering the United States this year and prevent about 20,000 employers from bringing foreign employees into the United States.
In the brief, the coalition describes the harm the executive orders could have on immigrant workers, their families and the United States economy.
By preventing thousands of immigrants and other foreign-born workers from participating in the workforce, James said the order deprives states of “valuable economic contributions”.
“Immigrants start businesses, fill important jobs in sectors facing labour shortages, and pay millions of dollars in taxes each year,” she said, adding that the ban will also harm many important industries, including science, technology, and medicine, “as these fields often rely on foreign-born workers with specialised technical knowledge and skills”.
“The economic harm caused by these bans will undermine states’ ability to fully recover from the damage inflicted by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic,” the New York Attorney General warned.
The coalition argues in the brief that Trump’s executive order will harm states’ residents and communities by withholding visas from hundreds of thousands of parents, grandparents, children and siblings seeking to reunite with their relatives in the United States.