Posts tagged with "US Chamber of Commerce"

Judge blocks large parts of Trump’s temporary work visa ban

October 5, 2020

U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White of the Northern District of California temporarily lifted a visa ban on a large number of work permits on Thursday, October 1—undercutting a measure that the Trump Administration had promised would protect American jobs in a pandemic-decimated economy, The Boston Globe reports.

The jurist said his ruling applied to members of organizations that sued the Administration—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; National Association of Manufacturers; National Retail Federation; TechNet, a technology industry group; and Intrax, which sponsors cultural exchanges.

Paul Hughes, an attorney for the associations, said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce alone has “more than 300,000 members of all shapes and sizes across the United States,” according to the Globe.

White, ruling in Oakland, California, said his order didn’t extend beyond those groups but noted that they comprise “hundreds of thousands of American businesses of all sizes from a cross-section of economic sectors,” including Microsoft  and Amazon.

The injunction, which lifts the ban while the case is being litigated, is at least a temporary setback for the Administration’s efforts to limit legal immigration during the coronavirus outbreak.

White, an appointee of President George W. Bush, said President Donald Trump likely acted outside bounds of his authority.

The judge wrote “there must be some measure of constraint on Presidential authority in the domestic sphere in order not to render the executive an entirely monarchical power in the immigration context, an area within clear legislative prerogative.”

The ban, which took effect in June and is scheduled to last until the end of this year, applies to:

  • H-1B visas, which are widely used by major American and Indian technology companies;
  • H-2B visas for nonagricultural seasonal workers;
  • J visas for cultural exchanges; and
  • L visas for managers and other key employees of multinational corporations.

It was the second time in three days that White had blocked a significant change on immigration. On Tuesday, he halted major fee increases for citizenship and other benefits three days before they were to take effect.

The Homeland Security and Justice departments did not immediately respond to requests for comments Thursday night, the Globe said..

The National Association of Manufacturers said the ruling will help with “crucial, hard-to-fill jobs to support economic recovery, growth and innovation when we most need it.”

“Today’s decision is a temporary win for manufacturers committed to building that innovation in the United States,” said Linda Kelly, the group’s senior vice president and general counsel. “A long-term win for manufacturers requires policymakers to support meaningful reforms to our immigration laws that recognize the critical link between smart immigration policy and America’s competitive advantage.”

Research contact: @BostonGlobe

Turning tail: Senate Republicans warn White House against Mexico tariffs

June 6, 2019

Et tu, GOP? Even the Senate Republican are starting to doubt the wisdom of Trump’s tariffs—especially those he means to impose against Mexico. After all, Americans like their avocados, tequila, and automobiles.

Indeed, according to a New York Times report, Republican senators sent the White House a clear and compelling message on June 4—warning that they were almost unanimously opposed to the president’s plans to establish tariffs on Mexican imports, just hours after the president said lawmakers would be “foolish” to try to stop him.

The administration’s latest move to intimidate the nation’s southern neighbor in the face of rising illegal immigration at the border will create a “tax” against Americans, the GOP claims (and Democrats agree). Trump has threatened to set 5% tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico, rising to as high as 25%, until the Mexican government stems the flow of migrants, the Times said.

Republican senators emerged from a closed-door lunch at the Capitol angered by the briefing they received from a deputy White House counsel and an assistant attorney general on the legal basis for the president to impose new tariffs by declaring a national emergency at the southern border.

“I want you to take a message back” to the White House, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas), told the lawyers, according to Times sources. Cruz warned that “you didn’t hear a single yes” from the Republican conference. He called the proposed tariffs a $30 billion tax increase on Texans.

“I will yield to nobody in passion and seriousness and commitment for securing the border,” Mr. Cruz later told reporters. “But there’s no reason for Texas farmers and ranchers and manufacturers and small businesses to pay the price of massive new taxes.”

Texas would be hit the hardest by the proposed tariffs on Mexican products, followed by Michigan, California, Illinois and Ohio, according to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. A 25% tariff would threaten $26.75 billion of Texas imports.

In fact, the Chamber notes on its home page, “Imposing tariffs on Mexico is exactly the wrong move. These tariffs will be paid by American families and businesses without doing a thing to solve the very real problems at he border.

“We’re holding a gun to our own heads,” said Senator John Cornyn, (R-Texas).

If Mr. Trump were to declare an emergency to impose the tariffs, the House and the Senate could pass a resolution disapproving them. But such a resolution would almost certainly face a presidential veto, meaning that both the House and the Senate would have to muster two-thirds majorities to beat Mr. Trump.

Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) said he warned the lawyers  during the closed-door meeting that the Senate could muster an overwhelming majority to beat back the tariffs, even if the president were to veto a resolution disapproving them. Republicans may be broadly supportive of Trump’s push to build a wall and secure the border, he said, but they oppose tying immigration policy to the imposition of tariffs on Mexico.

“The White House should be concerned about what that vote would result in, because Republicans really don’t like taxing American consumers and businesses,” Senator Johnson said.

However, the Times reported, when asked about Senate Republicans discussing ways to block the tariffs during his UK trip, President Trump responded, “I don’t think they will do that. I think if they do, it’s foolish.”

Research contact: @maggieNYT