PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – President Trump is changing the rules on who is allowed into the country. The change to the visa policy is supposed to be temporary, but some local business leaders say it could mean big problems for Pittsburgh.
The new restriction on immigrants will close the door to many foreigners looking to come to the U.S. to work. The White House says it’s necessary to keep jobs open for Americans as the economy recovers from the pandemic.
Two local business leaders say that for Pittsburgh -– and especially the technology companies here — it’s very bad news.
“This is a huge threat,” says Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. She says the companies she works with are asking lots of questions.
“How is this possible? How is this happening? What can you do? How do I continue to grow?” says Russo.
Matt Smith, President of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce, says President Trump’s order puts up “a blinking red light for talent around the world,” and says it’ll have negative consequences for the region and its ability to grow.
While the White House says it aims to protect American workers from competition from immigrants, Russo says this order misses the mark.
“I can tell you the jobs that are available in Pittsburgh right now — even during COVID — there are hundreds of jobs that are going unfilled that are in computer science, computational biology, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, automation, robotics,” says Russo. “We need people from all over the world to do these jobs.”
Amazon, Google, Uber and Apple are among the tech companies criticizing the new rules that the White House argues are necessary to reduce American unemployment.
The president’s order does include exceptions for, among others, health care and food industry workers.
The new restrictions take effect Wednesday.