Attorney General Frey Joins Friend-of-the-Court Brief in Appeal Against Trump Anti-Immigrant Visa Proclamations

November 6, 2020

AUGUSTA - Attorney General Aaron M. Frey today joined a coalition of 23 attorneys general, led by California and New York, in an amicus brief in Gomez v. Trump urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to reverse a trial court decision that partially upheld President Trump's proclamations that indefinitely disrupt vast portions of the countrys immigration system.

On April 22 and June 22, President Trump signed two different immigration-related proclamations that effectively bar immigrants and foreign workers traveling on nonimmigrant work visas from entering the United States, including students, tech workers, and the families of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Building on an earlier friend-of-the-court brief, the coalition once again asserts that the proclamations unlawfully keep families apart, harm the states, and are likely to slow economic and societal recovery from COVID-19. In Maine, many industries rely on work visas for a significant portion of their workforce.

"These proclamations keep families apart, including here in Maine, and place an illegitimate barrier on our attempts to rebuild our economy," said Frey. "The Trump Administration's stated rationale for doing so is a misguided attempt to distract from the fact that they have failed to protect public health and contain the spread of COVID-19. I urge the U.S. Court of Appeals to rule against these proclamations."

Rather than taking meaningful action to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the Presidents proclamations are a red herring - scapegoating immigrants and shutting down congressionally authorized immigration to the United States. By the federal governments own estimate, the proclamations may bar at least 525,000 people from entering the United States, including parents, adult children, and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and adult children of lawful permanent residents. The bans harm the states by denying our residents the right to unite with their families and harm our economies because immigrants and non-immigrant workers fill important roles in our schools, fields, and companies, create new jobs, start businesses, pay taxes, and purchase goods and services. Instead of helping Americans, the proclamations are based on a deeply flawed and erroneous understanding of how the economy actually works. Broader participation in the labor market spurs the creation of new jobs and bolsters spending in the United States. In fact, a 2014 report found that the elimination of large numbers of H-1B visas among the visas targeted by the Presidents proclamations during the Great Recession cost the United States approximately 231,224 technology jobs as a result of the lost innovation and growth the workers would have spurred. Beyond the harms to businesses and families across the country, the proclamations also directly impact international students that our colleges and universities employ and enroll.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Frey joins the attorneys general of California, New York, California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is attached.


Supporting documents

States Amicus Brief