Skip to main content

Will US immigration policies affect economy?

January 11, 2018 | Expert Insights

Tom Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce and one of the key players of corporate America has sounded a warning to US President Donald Trump over his immigration policies.

In a wide raging speech, he particularly singled out how rescinding the DACA policy would cause economic damage to the American economy. There have also been fears regarding the H-1B visas that are a preferred by Indian immigrants who wish to work in the US.


Illegal immigration was a signature issue of U.S. President Donald Trump's presidential campaign. It has continued to play a big role in his policies after he took office as well. He has repeatedly blamed immigrants on multiple problems within America. During the campaign he stated that many of the immigrants who come in from Mexico were “rapists” -a comment he was widely criticized for. He also proposed to build a big wall along the US-Mexico border to prevent illegal immigration. He said that Mexico would pay for this structure – a claim that has been denied by the Mexican government.

He has also expressed support for a variety of "limits on legal immigration and guest-worker visas” including a "pause" on granting green cards, which Trump says will "allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.” Trump's proposals regarding H-1B visas frequently changed throughout his presidential campaign, but as of late July 2016, he appeared to oppose the H-1B visa program. He has also questioned official estimates of the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States (between 11 and 12 million), insisting the number is much higher (between 30 and 34 million).

After being sworn in, mass protests broke out after he initiated the travel ban which was colloquially called the Muslim ban. Issued in 2017, it called to restrict entry into the United States. The actions included two executive orders for restrictions on citizens of seven (first executive order) or six (second executive order) predominantly Muslim countries. A third action, done by a proclamation, restricted entry into the U.S. to citizens of eight countries, six of which are predominantly Muslim majority countries.

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) was an American immigration policy that allowed some individuals who entered the country as minors, and had either entered or remained in the country illegally, to receive a renewable two-year period of deferred action from deportation and to be eligible for a work permit. The Trump administration rescinded the policy in 2017. Policymakers were given six months to come up with a solution on whether DACA recipients would be deported.


Trump has often been criticized for his “America first” rhetoric especially when it comes to immigrants. He has been widely condemned for initiating the so-called Muslim ban and for rescinding the DACA policy.

Tom Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce and one of the key players of corporate America has sounded a warning to US President Donald Trump over his immigration policies. He stated that Trump’s hardline against immigration would result in causing economic damage to America. He said, “The bottom line is that we can’t strengthen and sustain economic growth if we don’t expand and support our workforce. We need to go back on offence. We need to bolster our trade and investment ties with strategic partners — India should be a top priority. We need to tap the potential of growing regions such as the Middle East and Africa. And we need to clinch new deals that will open markets — not undermine the ones we have.” He criticized specific policies like the White House rescinding the DACA policy. He also criticized the American government’s decision to revoke the “temporary protected status” that had been provided to 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living and working in the US legally since devastating earthquakes in 2001.

Donohue is not the first coporate leader to criticize Trump’s immigration policies. Companies like Uber, Google, Facebook and Microsoft have spoken against the travel ban and in favor of DACA. These companies will also be affected by these policies directly. In addition, there have been reports that those holding the H-1B visas could also be in trouble. One news report stated that these visas could be revoked as well. However, the White House has noted that it will not happen.

The USCIS "is not considering a regulatory change that would force H-1B visa holders to leave the United States by changing interpretation of Section 104 C of the American Competitiveness in the 21st Century Act (AC21) statute that states that USCIS may grant the extensions," an official said.

This type of professional visa is highly sought after by Indian IT professionals in the country.


Our assessment is that any crackdown on immigration in America will also result in brain drain and loss of labor. Thus, it could result in negatively affecting the economy. Additionally, many IT companies in the country employ people from various nations including India. This will cause an upheaval within these organizations. We believe corporate America will fight multiple Trump policies regarding immigration aggressively.Tom Donohue, head of the US Chamber of Commerce and one of the key players of corporate America has sounded a warning to US President Donald Trump over his immigration policies.