WASHINGTON, DC., April 21, 2020 — The Niskanen Center co-led a coalition letter signed by a wide range of business, faith, civic, and immigration advocacy organizations calling on agency heads to provide relief to foreign-born workers, their families, and employers in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. 

With our partners, the National Immigration Forum, Americans For Prosperity, and 17 signatory organizations, we highlight that without action, temporary workers risk falling out of status or violating the terms of their visas through no fault of their own. The letter calls on the Department of State, Department Homeland Security, and on U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to:

  • Extend work authorization and delay all deadlines to renew and adjust status until at least September 10, 2020; 
  • Forgive accrual of unlawful presence for furloughed workers and student visa holders, as well as forgive extended absence for LPRs forced to stay abroad; and
  • Add flexibility to the system in order to continue processing visas of essential workers like nurses and farmworkers.

“The relief requested in the joint letter would immediately help a broad range of temporary and permanent immigrant workers and their employers, including DACA recipients, high-skilled workers, students, guest workers, and all green card holders forced into an extended absence outside of the country,” said Kristie De Peña, Niskanen’s Vice President for Policy.

De Peña continued, “this letter—signed by groups across the political spectrum that represent a diverse range of constituents—showcases the bipartisan nature of the clear and practical requests made of these agencies. While the entire country reels from the effects of COVID-19, we must not forget the immigrant communities impacted by this disaster, and capitalize on all that they do during this unprecedented time of need in our nation.”

The Niskanen Center and its partners look forward to continuing to work with U.S. federal agencies to streamline processing for temporary workers, their families, and their employers for the good of the country and the economy. 

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The Niskanen Center is a 501(c)(3) advocacy organization established in 2014 that works to change public policy through direct engagement in the policymaking process.