Oct 24, 2017

Trump deals another blow to H-1B visa holders

Photo: AP

The Trump administration is making it more difficult for employment-based visa holders to extend their status in the U.S. — another blow to companies (particularly large technology firms) that rely on H-1B visas to hire high-skilled workers from other countries.

The big picture: With new policy guidance, foreign workers applying for visa extensions will face more scrutiny.

The administration is making it clear that federal immigration officers can and should ask more questions to make sure only the best applicants are deemed eligible for work visas. It's part of the administration's broader efforts to crack down on H-1B and other company-sponsored visas that, it believes, are prone to abuse and take good-paying jobs away from Americans.

The details: Currently, immigration officers reviewing visa extension applications defer to prior eligibility decisions for that visa — which means if a person was found to be eligible for an initial work visa, they would usually be considered eligible for an extension of that visa. But in a memo released late Monday, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services rescinded that policy and instructed its officers to apply the same level of scrutiny to both initial petitions and extension requests, consistent with policies "that protect the interests of U.S. workers."

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Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Go deeperArrow32 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.