Chamber of Commerce: ‘Critical’ for Wealthy to Import Foreign Au Pairs During Coronavirus Crisis

This week, Chamber of Commerce CEO Thomas Donohue announced the group’s lawsuit against Trump’s expanded executive order, signed last month, which halts the H-1B, H-4, H-2B, L-1, and J-1 visa programs to reduce foreign competition against 35 million unemployed and underemployed Americans.

Specifically, the lawsuit claims the J-1 visa program — where mostly upper-middle-class to wealthy households are allowed to import foreign au pairs at below-market wages — is “critical” during the nation’s time of crisis.

The lawsuit states:

And the au pair program is principally used by families that would otherwise lack live-in childcare. That resource is especially critical now, with children forced to stay home by the pandemic rather than attend school in person: Without childcare, many parents will be unable to work, decreasing productivity and deepening the Nation’s economic issues. [Emphasis added]

Companies that facilitate the hiring of J-1 visa holders, such as Intrax, will suffer “direct and irreparable loss” if the courts do not overturn Trump’s order, the lawsuit claims.

“For operators of J-1 programs, the Proclamation is an existential crisis,” the lawsuit states. “Loss of these small companies will only exacerbate current unemployment rates.”

Trump’s decision to halt the inflow of foreign au pairs defied the State Department’s recent justification of the program. In a regulation issued last month, the agency defended the program’s below-market wage rates.

The regulation seeks to justify wealthy households importing foreign au pairs for less than $11,000 a year with a mandate that the au pair work for 45 hours every week. This equates to a wage rate of about $4.33 an hour.

Today, there are about 26 million Americans who are unemployed or out of the labor force – all of whom want full-time jobs. Another more than nine million Americans are underemployed and want full-time employment.

In 2018, the foreign au pair program delivered more than 20,600 young people to upper-middle-class and wealthy households in the U.S. Nearly 60 percent of all foreign au pairs go to households in California, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois, where there is a concentration of wealth.

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The case number is 3:20-cv-04887.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.