AG Tong Joins Coalition Challenging Trump Administration’s Unlawful Effort to Bar Immigrants and Foreign Workers(Hartford, CT) – Attorney General William Tong has joined a coalition of 23 attorneys generals in fighting against the Trump Administration’s continued efforts to curtail legal immigration and temporary work visa programs. In an amicus brief supporting the plaintiffs in Gomez., et al. v. Trump the coalition calls for an injunction against 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. 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.
“Suspending immigration and critical work visa programs will cost our state millions of dollars in taxes and more importantly, make it impossible for highly skilled, hard-working immigrants to come to our state,” Attorney General Tong said. “During a global pandemic we need the medical, technological, and scientific skills of these immigrants and foreign workers more than ever. This ban cannot be enforced.”
In Connecticut, immigrants pay $5.9 billion in taxes and have a spending power of $14.5 billion. Our state has over 37,000 immigrant entrepreneurs who employ over 95,000 people across the state.
On April 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order banning most legal immigrants – including immigrants sponsored by family members and immigrants who won the diversity visa lottery – from entry to the United States. On June 22, the president issued a new order extending the April ban until the end of the year and adding new bans on non-immigrant workers arriving on H-1B, H-2B, J, and L visas. If allowed to remain in effect, these 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 — led by New York Attorney General Letitia James and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra — the coalition describes the harms 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 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Finally, the coalition argues that the executive order will harm 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 Attorneys General Tong, James, and Becerra in filing this brief are the attorneys general of Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.