Trump announces new visa restrictions; Saudi Arabia planning only a limited Hajj; White House trade adviser walks back comments

Jun 23, 2020

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US President Donald Trump temporarily suspended the issuance of new work visas for certain foreign workers yesterday, a move widely opposed by business groups. Trump's presidential proclamation bars most H-1B visas for skilled employees as well as H-2B seasonal worker visas. It also restricts some H-4, J-1, and L-1 visas. Tech companies like Amazon, Google and Twitter, who rely heavily on the H-1B visas, are objecting to the directive.

The White House said the move would help the economy rebound amid the coronavirus crisis and that targeted visa categories pose “a risk of displacing and disadvantaging United States workers during the current recovery.” Critics argue the order is part of the Trump administration’s broader efforts to curb immigration.

The visa suspension, which exempts those already in the US and visa holders abroad, as well as some agricultural, health care and food industry workers, takes effect Wednesday and lasts until the end of the year.

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Saudi Arabia said yesterday it plans to allow only a limited Hajj this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The announcement bars foreign travelers, allowing only people already living in the kingdom to make the religious pilgrimage. As many as 2 million people come to the holy city of Mecca every year for the Hajj.

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro said Monday on Fox News that the China trade deal was “over.” The comment stoked volatility in markets. Later, Navarro walked back the remarks, suggesting his comments were taken “wildly out of context.”

The German region of Guetersloh in the northwest of the country was put under lockdown today as the number of coronavirus cases surged past 1,000 following an outbreak at a meatpacking plant. Guetersloh is home to about 360,000 residents and is the first area in Germany to go back into lockdown.

Russia jails Pussy Riot manager for 15 days for petty hooliganism

A Moscow court jailed Pyotr Verzilov, an anti-Kremlin activist and associate of the Pussy Riot punk group, for 15 days on Monday after finding him guilty of petty hooliganism for swearing in public. Kirill Koroteev, a lawyer and the head of the International Practice of Agora, the group that has taken up Verzilov's case, spoke to The World's host Marco Werman about what happened.

Discussion: What's next in the fight against the coronavirus?

The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 9 million people globally and caused 440,000 deaths worldwide. With countries starting to reopen while we await vaccines and treatments, what can we expect next and how can we prepare and respond? As part of our series of conversations addressing the coronavirus crisis, The World's Elana Gordon will be taking your questions while moderating a discussion with epidemiologist Caroline Buckee from Harvard's T.H. Chan School of Public Health on Tuesday, June 23, at 12 p.m. EST.

Morning meme

Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu opera reopened its doors to potted plants Monday. Spanish conceptual artist Eugenio Ampudia had the idea to place the plants in the theater, inspired by his connection to nature during the pandemic. The plant-based reopening came a day after Spain's three-month state of emergency ended.

In case you missed itListen: Face masks and the coronavirus crisis

The more we learn about the coronavirus, the more the evidence points to the importance of face coverings in limiting the virus’s spread. Still, if you’re confused about the what and the how of masks, you are not alone. And, Beijing had some strong words for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this morning: "Stop making irresponsible remarks." Trudeau reiterated his belief that China’s decision to charge two Canadians with spying was retribution for the arrest of a Chinese tech executive. Also, temperatures above 100 degrees have been recorded in a small town in Eastern Siberia.

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