Refugees and Visas to the United States and Treaties

There were no treaties regarding the number of visas the United States grants to a particular country, although the United States has agreed to the United Nations charter on refugees. In this charter, the U.S. agreed to accept refugees, but the number of refugees accepted can be limited and changed by the executive branch. While there is a duty to at least look at refugees, we anticipate that the President will make lateral decisions that are most likely going to be upheld in Congress to severely limit the number of refugees we take in.

I would hope that the president doesn’t do that because that is antithetical to the UNHCR, and all of our commitments to global human rights. UNHCR is the United Nation High Command for Refugees. It’s the group that travels around the world and helps designate countries where there is strife or oppression and they put together refugee camps.

The United States has treaties that allow for specific types of visas for certain countries. For example, in Australia we have the E-3 visa, which is a work visa similar to the H-1B. That visa allows Australians to not use the H-1B program if possible, which is limited to only 65,000 visa’s for the rest of the world, unless they went to school here and received a master’s degree.

There may be some fears about restricting work visas. The President can restrict work visas by terminating those classifications or those treaties. It’s unclear how easy that would be for Trump to do, but that would certainly be one way that he could curtail work visas for individuals coming into the United States.