A coalition of over 30 Republican youth groups has written a letter to President Trump urging him to use his executive authority to permanently end the OPT program, and suspend the issuance of H-1B visas during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Made worse by the coronavirus economic crisis are the hundreds of thousands of nonimmigrant guest workers in the United States,” the letter reads. “These guest workers – and especially those in the OPT and H-1B programs – take jobs temporarily at wages far below the average for their positions.”
The letter goes on to explain the details of the much-abused OPT program.
“The Optional Practical Training (OPT) program allows foreign students to work temporarily in the United States after they graduate from American universities,” it states. “Incredibly, employers who hire these OPT students do not pay any payroll taxes on them.”
Signatories to the letter include the Yavapai County Young Republicans, the Seattle Young Republicans, the New York Young Republican Club, the Detroit Young Republicans, the University of Washington College Republicans, the Young Conservatives of Michigan, and the Bruin Republicans at UCLA.
The letter is part of a nascent nationalist movement among young conservative activists concerned about their future job prospects.
“We felt it necessary to cooperate with the [Foundation for American Immigration Reform] on this letter because it is essential that the wellbeing of American workers and American families are prioritized over foreign labor in the midst of one of the most challenging economic crises we have been through yet,” said Oliver Krvaric, the chairman of the San Diego State University College Republicans and the organizer of the effort, in an exclusive statement to the National File.
“We are part of a growing coalition of young conservative immigration restrictionists that want to win back control over our borders for good.”
The letter drew praise from immigration critics on Twitter.
Thanks to @SDSUCR for organizing this letter and to all the great College Republican and Young Republican groups that signed.
American graduates currently have to compete with 1.1 million annual international students in the job market. OPT needs to end to put Americans first. https://t.co/PpViAMXr0B
— Republicans for National Renewal (@RNRenewal) May 22, 2020
— Michelle Malkin (@michellemalkin) May 22, 2020
In March, Krvaric and a smaller coalition of conservative student groups issued a resolution calling for a moratorium on all immigration to the United States:
“In times of crisis, Americans have come together to keep our country safe,” the resolution reads. “We, as young American patriots, have united to support a resolution urging President Donald J. Trump to pass an indefinite moratorium on all immigration to the United States of America.”
The resolution notes that strong borders are key when it comes to containing the coronavirus pandemic: “It is uncertain when the Wuhan Virus will be eradicated and we must take every precaution to prevent its spread. The need for secure borders – air, land, and sea, could never be to prevent the disease from being reintroduced to our country.”
The resolution also calls for the Trump administration to re-dedicate its plans to erect a barrier along the southern border to preempt the spread of the virus.