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J-1 Visas, Which Bring Hundreds Of International Workers To Valley, On Hold After Trump Order

Alex Hager
Aspen Public Radio

The Trump administration extended a freeze on green cards andput a hold on a variety of temporary work visas this week, blocking them until at least January. Included in the hold are J-1 visas, temporary work permits that bring hundreds of seasonal employees to the Roaring Fork Valley every year.

Aspen, Snowmass, and Glenwood Springs combined to host 893 J-1 visa holders last year. The permits are described as a means of “cultural exchange” and are commonly used in the local tourism industry to employ young foreigners in restaurants and shops. 

The Aspen Skiing Company employs “several hundred” people using J-1 visas each year, according to the Aspen Daily News.

The order from President Trump also puts a hold on H1-B visas, often used by U.S. technology companies. The administration described the measure as a way to free up jobs for Americans during times of high unemployment. 

Alex is KUNC's reporter covering the Colorado River Basin. He spent two years at Aspen Public Radio, mainly reporting on the resort economy, the environment and the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, he covered the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery for KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska.