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Photo: Carolyn Kaster-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Monday that President Trump's expansion of legal immigration restrictions — including a temporary ban on high-skilled H-1B visas — will have a "chilling effect" on the country's economic recovery.

Why it matters: Graham is one of Trump's closest allies in the Senate. He and many pro-business groups, including major tech companies and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, have expressed disapproval at the decision to restrict legal immigration during the pandemic.

What he's saying: Graham tweeted, "Those who believe legal immigration, particularly work visas, are harmful to the American worker do not understand the American economy."

  • "Work visas for temporary and seasonal jobs covering industries like hospitality, forestry, and many economic sectors can only be issued AFTER American workers have had a chance to fill the job position."
  • "Before coronavirus, legal immigration and programs like these played an important role in helping President Trump create the strongest economy in generation. I have little doubt that programs like these would help him build it again."
  • "Unfortunately, I fear the President’s decision today to temporarily shut down these programs will create a drag on our economic recovery."
  • "The shuttering of these programs may not lead to employment opportunities for displaced American workers, but could instead increase the cost of consumer goods for Americans — particularly service industry related products," he added.

The big picture: The Trump administration on Monday banned U.S. entry for foreigners on specific temporary work visas through 2020, including high-skilled H-1B visas.

  • The move expands on earlier coronavirus-related immigration restrictions, which have also been extended through the end of the year.
  • Per Axios' Stef Kight, the additional restrictions will also affect H-1B spouses, non-agriculture worker H-2Bs visas, short-term workers on J-1 exchange visas, and L visas, which allow companies to move employees working overseas to U.S. offices.

Go deeper

Dems on Senate Judiciary tell Graham to delay filling Ginsburg's seat

Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) speaking in August.

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee, led by Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), called on Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to delay filling Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court until after the presidential inauguration.

What it matters: Democrats cited the Senate GOP's refusal to consider President Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland following Justice Antonin Scalia's death in 2016. Republicans at that time claimed voters should choose the president and the president should select the justice, since the vacancy occurred during an election year.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

British national named in Colleyville synagogue standoff

A law enforcement vehicle sits near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Jan. 16. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue outside Fort Worth on Saturday, the FBI said in a statement.

State of play: Authorities had initially declined to release the name of the 44-year-old suspect or identify the hostages, all adults, though police chief Michael Miller confirmed that one of those held was Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who leads the congregation.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines — Experts warn of more COVID-19 variants after Omicron — WHO recommends 2 new treatments — What "mild" really means when it comes to Omicron — Deaths are climbing as cases skyrocket.
  2. Vaccines: America's vaccination drive runs out of gas— Puerto Rico expands booster shot requirements— Supreme Court blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for large employers.
  3. Politics: Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health" — Focus group says Biden weak on COVID response, strong on democracy
  4. Economy: America's labor shortage is bigger than the pandemic— — CDC COVID guidance for cruise ships to be optional starting Saturday — The cost of testing.
  5. States: West Virginia governor feeling "extremely unwell" after positive test — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers — America struggles to keep schools open
  6. World: Beijing reports first local Omicron case weeks before Winter Olympics — Teachers in France stage mass walkout over COVID protocols.
  7. Variant tracker