Live Mic: Trump’s clampdown on immigration will hurt Utah schools, says expert

Jul 6, 2020, 6:12 PM | Updated: 6:12 pm
psychologist warn parents, immigration Utah Amendment G Utah...
(Getty Image)
(Getty Image)

SALT LAKE CITY — At the end of June, President Trump expanded an order restricting visas to the U.S. for temporary foreign workers and extends the ban on green cards issued outside the US until the end of the year. The president’s decision will hurt Utah schools, according to a state education specialist.

The order primarily affects H-1B visas, meant for workers with specialized skills, who are heavily sought out by technology companies, and:

  • H-2B visas, for seasonal employees (food-processing workers are exempted);
  • L-1 visas, for corporate executives;
  • and J-1 visas, for scholars and exchange programs, restricting new authorizations through Dec. 31.

Protecting US jobs

Despite opposition from US businesses, President Trump said he expanded the temporary ban on foreign workers to protect American job markets during the economic downturn sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

“The entry of additional workers through the H-1B, H-2B, J, and L nonimmigrant visa programs, therefore, presents a significant threat to employment opportunities for Americans affected by the extraordinary economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak,” according to the White House.

“In the administration of our Nation’s immigration system, we must remain mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in the current extraordinary environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor,” President Trump wrote in his proclamation.

‘We need teachers’

Robert Austin, humanities team coordinator on the Utah Board of Education, discusses President Trump’s ban and how it impacts Utah’s Dual Language Immersion (DLI) Programs, which relies heavily on a work visa now under suspension. Austin joins Lee Lonsberry on Live Mic.

Austin said students in the program spend half a day learning a second language (Chinese, French, German, Portuguese or Spanish) and the other half learning English. He said that 300 public schools in the state and 63,000 students are enrolled in the program.

“As it [DLI] grows, we need teachers. We scour the country for teachers who are fluent in the language,” Austin said. “You have to be fluent enough to teach mathematical concepts in Portuguese. So it’s not just having a passing language skill.”

Although they search for homegrown talent, Austin said international teachers are necessary to grow the DLI program. He added that every year about 75 teachers from around the world are brought to Utah to teach in the program.

But this year, President Trump’s executive order “stopped it dead in its tracks,” Austin said. He added that he was hoping that there would be included an exemption for teachers, as there was for essential food workers.

Austin said US national security depends on second-language teachers.

“We’ve got to be able to have trade negotiations in Mandarin [Chinese],” he said. “We have to be able to have students and linguists in the Defense Department, in the [US] State Department. And where are they going to come from if we don’t grow those language skills. ”

Austin added he understands the president would want to protect the US jobs market, but the international teachers sought for the program are not competing with Americans for these positions, “otherwise we’d hire them.”

Austin said he hoped a remedy can be found soon for the DLI program because schools are already facing much uncertainty come fall.

“We are trying to get hand sanitizers and facemask. We shouldn’t be stressing over visas,” Lee replied.


Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app.

Today’s Top Stories


Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 days ago
Curt Gresseth

Former U.S. Attorney for Utah talks about what FBI can take off your cellphone

A legal expert joined Dave and Dujanovic to discuss how the FBI can obtain evidence of a crime from a cellphone.
2 days ago
mini-bottles Utah liquor store...
Elizabeth Weiler

“Mini-bottles” could return to Utah state liquor stores

Mini-bottles haven't been on Utah state liquor store shelves for more than two decades. A public hearing will be held on the proposal.
2 days ago
The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, left, and Flor...
MJ Lee, CNN White House correspondent

Biden administration prepares for Abbott and DeSantis to send more migrants to Democratic cities

The Biden administration is readying for more migrants to be sent to Democratic cities.
2 days ago
Gov. Cox mental health...
Mark Jones

Utah National Guard to host 67th annual Governor’s Day

The 67th annual Governor's Day will be held Saturday by the Utah National Guard at Camp Williams.
3 days ago
Samantha Herrera

Semifinalists for the new Utah flag design unveiled

The finalists for the new Utah state flag are on display at the Utah State Capitol, as well as in Logan and Cedar City through Oct. 5.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Live Mic: Trump’s clampdown on immigration will hurt Utah schools, says expert