President Donald Trump will temporarily suspend all immigration into the United States in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Trump announced the news in a Monday night tweet, stating that he intends to sign an executive order in an effort to slow the spread of the virus, which has been contracted by more than 787,000 in the country, and to "protect jobs" of Americans.
The announcement marks just the latest step the president has taken amid the global pandemic and follows his travel ban on China and Europe. It also comes after the borders to Canada and Mexico were closed to nonessential travel Those measures are still in place. At this time, details of the immigration ban remain unclear, including when the ban will be put in place, how long it will last, and if there will be any exemptions.
In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
The New York Times reports that several people familiar with the plan claimed a formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could be put in place in the coming days. This would mean that the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the US for an undetermined period of time, which would effectively shut down "the legal immigration system in the same way the president has long advocated closing the borders to illegal immigration." The outlet also reports that some workers who have received visas to work in the United States would no longer have permission to arrive. Some workers, however, would be exempt from the ban should they work in industries deemed essential.
The proposed ban has already drawn scrutiny from some of the president's opponents, however. Following Trump's tweet, some Democratic officials responded by stating the president was using the pandemic as a means to cater to his base with the immigration policy, which had largely taken a backseat so far amid the pandemic.
"This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump's failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda," tweeted Rep. Joaquin Castro. "We must come together to reject his division."
"As our country battles the pandemic, as workers put their lives on the line, the President attacks immigrants & blames others for his own failures," former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar wrote in a tweet.