United States President Donald Trump during a White House press briefing on Tuesday, said that he is going to issue an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration for green card seekers for 60 days. He argued that the the move would help Americans find work again in the wake of coronavirus that caused a surge in unemployment.
“It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” Trump said.
“We must first take care of the American worker.”
He told reporters that the pause will be in effect for 60 days and he will decide on any extension or charges “based on economic condition at the time.” According to the President, the order will only be applied to immigrants seeking permanent residency in the US, a process informally known as obtaining a green card.
However, he assured that it will not affect people entering on temporary non-immigrant visas including tourists, business travelers and foreign workers. In the fiscal year 2019, the U.S. Department of State issued approximately 462,000 immigrant visas, a major drop as compared to the 617,000 visas granted in 206. Trump’s administration did not make clear how many immigrant visa applicants may get affected by the plan.
President Trump said there would be exemptions that his administration would detail before the order is signed. “We’ll sign it most likely tomorrow. Being drawn now and tonight, and it’s something we have to have in this country,” he added.
Trump’s move has been criticized by Texas lawmaker Joaquin Castro who called it as an “attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives.” He further tweeted calling the move an “authoritarian-like” one which aims to take advantage of the crisis.
Trump earlier issued an order in late January barring entry to certain travelers from China and then blocked certain travelers from Iran in February and Europe in March. Trump’s former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Thomas Homan said it “makes sense” and will keep the country safer while preserving jobs for unemployed Americans.