Attorney General Becerra Leads Friend-of-the-Court Brief in Appeal Against Trump Anti-Immigrant Visa Proclamations
SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in an amicus brief in Gomez v. Trump urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse a trial court decision that partially upheld President Trump’s proclamations that indefinitely disrupt vast portions of the country’s immigration system. On April 22 and June 22, President Trump signed two different immigration-related proclamations that effectively bar immigrants and foreign workers traveling on nonimmigrant work visas from entering the United States, including students, tech workers, and the families of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Building on an earlier friend-of-the-court brief, the coalition once again asserts that the proclamations unlawfully keep families apart, harm the states, and are likely to slow economic and societal recovery from COVID-19.
“Keeping families apart is wrong. Keeping out talented workers that our economy needs is foolish and shortsighted,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The harm from the pandemic is real and surging. We don’t need the self-inflicted wounds wrought by the Trump proclamations to make things worse for our families and our economy. That’s why — alongside our partners across the country — we’re asking the court to stop this president’s unlawful assault on our immigration system.”
Rather than taking meaningful action to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the President’s proclamations are a red herring — scapegoating immigrants and shutting down congressionally authorized immigration to the United States. By the federal government’s own estimate, the proclamations may bar at least 525,000 people from entering the United States, including parents, adult children, and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and adult children of lawful permanent residents. The bans harm the states by denying our residents the right to unite with their families and harm our economies because immigrants and non-immigrant workers fill important roles in our schools, fields, and companies. They also create new jobs, start businesses, pay taxes, and purchase goods and services. Instead of helping Americans, the proclamations are based on a deeply flawed and erroneous understanding of how the economy actually works. Broader participation in the labor market spurs the creation of new jobs and bolsters spending in the United States. In fact, a 2014 report found that the elimination of large numbers of H-1B visas — among the visas targeted by the President’s proclamations — during the Great Recession cost the United States approximately 231,224 technology jobs as a result of the lost innovation and growth the workers would have spurred. Beyond the harms to businesses and families across the country, the proclamations also directly impact international students that our colleges and universities employ and enroll. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, international students brought in an estimated $6 billion to California’s economy in 2017 alone, supporting approximately 70,131 jobs.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Connecticut, 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.
A copy of the amicus brief is available here.