I was devastated by the news of the June 22, 2020 executive proclamation suspending visas for aliens who may pose a threat to our economic recovery. In theory I support the sentiment of reducing America’s elevated unemployment rate. I had just lamenting how Switzerland could motivate its nation with a nice “get Switzerland working again; have-a-Swiss-holiday” message, while America wasn’t generating anything so positive and effective.
In practice this restriction doesn’t simultaneously substitute Americans for the jobs of J1 visa holders among others. Our au pair agency is not offering domestic American au pairs the opportunity to connect with American host families (from a different region of the country, say) for an au pair year. I did inquire. Alas, middle class American double-income-dependent working families are simply being stretched thin, asked to do more.
The Economist’s 1 August 2020 publication of “Tearing up the welcome mat” (pp 47-49) captured our alarm of the situation:
“In June [Mr Trump] issued a ‘Proclamation Suspending Entry of Aliens Who Present a Risk to the US Labour Market Following the Coronavirus Outbreak’. It froze four types of visas for the rest of the year: H-1BS (for highly skilled workers); H-2BS (fo less-skilled workers); J visas, for au pairs, temporary summer workers and some academics; and L visas, for professionals who are moved within the same company.
“These new rules, combined with the near-total shutdown of visa offices, will destroy American jobs, not create them…
“Banning au pairs won’t create jobs for Americans, either. On the contrary: by providing cheap child care, au pairs mak it it easier for American parents to go out to work. Families that couldn’t afford a nanny can often afford an au pair because part of the au pair’s compensation is a place to stay and a chance to learn English.
“Jason Patwell, a defense conractor, is a single father of three boys, one of whom has special needs. He was aghast when he realizes that an au pair would not be coming. ‘I would love to say I have a back-up plan, but I don’t. I can throw money at the problem, and go into debt. I’ll survive until the end of the summer,’ he says.”
Then in mid-July came our potential break. The national interest exceptions, for which we ought to qualify as medical workers essential to the treatment of COVID patients and research toward new COVID therapies. If granted, at the discretion of the US Consulate in the home country, the au pair must travel to our family within 30 days.
The German au pair we matched with, Madeline Jung, would be so sad to lose her opportunity to arrive in September. We are hopeful that during her upcoming US Consular appointment on 8 September she’ll be granted a J-1 visa under the national interest exception. Then we will all be thrilled to be united together as one strong multinational family! It is truly a matter of national, and personal, importance!
Ich drucke dir die Daumen, I’ll press my thumbs for you! as the German saying goes, roughly translated to: cross your fingers for us!!