CHICAGO – Attorney General Kwame Raoul joined a coalition of 23 attorneys generals in fighting continued federal efforts to curtail legal immigration and temporary work visa programs. In an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in Gomez., et al. v. Trump, Raoul and the coalition call for an injunction preventing the enforcement of two executive orders that would suspend large swathes of the nation’s legal immigration system and several of its most important non-immigrant work visa programs.
In the amicus brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that the participation of immigrants and other foreign-born employees in the workforce is critical to economic development, and federal government’s extended order will impede economic growth and prolong the separation of families.
“Immigrants work in roles that are essential to supporting states’ economies during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond,” Raoul said. “I will continue to oppose the federal government’s anti-immigrant policies that hurt families, our communities and states’ economies.”
On April 22, the president issued an executive order barring entry into the United States by most legal immigrants being sponsored by U.S. citizens or legal permanent resident family members, or by their employers, along with those 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. Absent an injunction, the June order will be in effect until Dec. 31, and may be extended. If allowed to remain in effect, the orders will bar more than 500,000 people from entering the United States this year and prevent approximately 20,000 employers from bringing foreign employees into the United States.
In the brief, Raoul and the coalition describe the damage 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, the order deprives states of valuable economic contributions. Immigrants start businesses, fill important jobs in sectors facing labor shortages and pay millions of dollars in taxes each year. The ban will also harm many important industries, including science, technology and medicine, as these fields often rely on foreign-born workers with specialized technical knowledge and skills. The economic harm caused by these bans will undermine states’ ability to fully recover from the damage inflicted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, Raoul and the coalition argue that the executive orders will harm amici 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.
Joining Raoul in filing the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.