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SEL President asks President Trump to reverse course on immigration

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

President Donald J. Trump 
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500

Subject:  Objection to Your Immigration Proclamation Yesterday

Dear Mr. President:

I am compelled to write you directly, as your executive action affects us directly, without the benefit of our representation in the Legislative Branch.

Our company, Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL), is headquartered in rural Eastern Washington, 8 miles from the Idaho border. I founded the company in 1984 and am proud to say that it’s now owned by 3,600 of our U.S. employees and supported by a global sales force. SEL invents, designs, manufactures and supports products that protect power systems around the world. Our solutions are in service in virtually every substation in North America and we export about 30 percent of our products.

It's due, in part, to the hard work and brain power of employees from around the world that we are able to employ so many Americans. These employees are all here legally on visas or green cards or have become naturalized American citizens. 

Consider a product that we launched a couple of years ago, the world’s fastest digital relay that protects our nation’s critical infrastructure and keeps lights on around the world.

  • Its inventors came from Mexico, South Africa, Poland, India and the United States.
  • Its designers are originally from dozens of countries, including the U.S. 
  • Our global sales force has promoted the product in every market around the world, resulting in exports from the U.S. into dozens of countries. 
  • And, more than 2,000 people in our U.S.-based manufacturing facilities manufacture it, along with our many other products. 

At SEL, our colleagues who came here from other countries contribute to the ideas, teamwork, project execution, and sweat that enable us to be a growing U.S. manufacturing employer and exporter to other nations.

I strongly object to the immigration proclamation issued yesterday, for the following reasons and arguments:

  1. We applaud your success in freeing our country from hundreds of regulations, which are sand in the gears of economic and political freedom. We need immigration to be EASIER, not harder!
  2. The Proclamation is not in consonance with your success in deregulation; nor is it in line with getting our economy going again, after the government-ordered shutdowns related to the coronavirus.
  3. Our immigration system is very complicated, and we spend countless hours and resources to follow the letter of the law.
  4. The complexity, expense, and time spent complying with immigration laws are already formidable barriers to immigration. Hiring folks here at home is much simpler, cheaper and quicker.
  5. The already-complicated process was made worse by government slowdown of procedures.
  6. The government slowdown is understandable due to the COVID-19 virus, but it did indeed postpone many applications.
  7. We have many immigration cases in process which are suddenly, without any warning, affected by your proclamation.
  8. We often prefer to bring excellent folks to the United States, where they will contribute to our society in many ways; rather than employing them outside our country.
  9. I have never seen our immigration processes favor foreign applicants over domestic ones.
  10. The Proclamation goes the wrong way!  In this COVID crisis, we need natural incentives, including economic and political freedom.

We urge you to reverse course right away!


Edmund O. Schweitzer, III  PhD
Chairman of the Board, President, and Chief Technology Officer
Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories, Inc

Download a copy of this letter.