Four senators urged President Donald Trump on Thursday to suspend the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program for at least a year, or until the U.S. job market recovers from the economic falloff caused by lockdowns.
The OPT program allows international students in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to work in the United States for up to three years after graduating, while still maintaining their student visa status. More than 223,000 foreigners had their OPT permits approved or extended in 2019.
“While the merits of such a program are subject to debate, there is certainly no reason to allow foreign students to stay for three additional years just to take jobs that would otherwise go to unemployed Americans as our economy recovers,” wrote Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) in a letter to Trump.
The lawmakers also urged the president to suspend the H-1B skilled worker visa for a period of 60 days, arguing that the temporary suspension would not only benefit Americans who recently graduated from colleges, but also protect H-1B workers and their families who are already working in the United States from deportation if they are laid off for more than 60 days.
They said “appropriate exceptions” would be made regarding the temporary suspension of H-1B to allow foreign doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to come to the United States to join forces in combating the pandemic.
“These suspensions are critical to protecting American workers as our economy gets back on its feet,” the senators wrote. In February, the unemployment rate in the United States was at a 50-year low of 3.5 percent. By early May,Read More From Source