Trump Plans to Suspend Immigration to U.S.
The president portrayed the measure, his most wide-ranging attempt yet to seal off the country from the world, as a bid to save Americans’ jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump uses health crisis to advance his long held immigration goals.
President Trump on Monday at the White House. Late Monday evening, he tweeted that he would sign an “Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”Credit...Doug Mills/The New York Times
By Katie Rogers and Michael D. Shear
April 20, 2020, 11:30 p.m. ET New York Times
WASHINGTON — President Trump said on Monday evening that he intended to close the United States to people trying to immigrate into the country to live and work, a drastic move that he said would protect American workers from foreign competition once the nation’s economy began to recover from the shutdown caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
In recent weeks, the Trump administration has said health concerns justified moving swiftly to bar asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country, alarming immigration advocates who have said that Mr. Trump and his advisers are using a global pandemic to further hard-line immigration policies.
But the president’s late-night announcement on Monday signals his most wide-ranging attempt yet to seal the country off from the rest of the world. A formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could come as early as the next few days, according to several people familiar with the plan.
Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system in the same way the president has long advocated closing the borders to illegal immigration. It was not immediately clear what legal basis Mr. Trump would claim to justify shutting down most immigration.
Workers who have for years received visas to perform specialized jobs in the United States would also be denied permission to arrive, though some workers in some industries deemed critical could be exempted from the ban, the people familiar with the president’s discussion said.
The number of visas issued to foreigners abroad looking to immigrate to the United States has declined by about 25 percent, to 462,422 in the 2019 fiscal year from 617,752 in 2016.