President Donald Trump will freeze legal immigration into the United States, the president tweeted early Tuesday morning.
Trump said that the threat posed by the coronavirus outbreak, which he dubbed an “attack” by “the invisible enemy”, and the accompanying decline in the jobs market leading to surging unemployment, were the reasons for the immigration suspension.
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 president noted that the suspension will be undertaken with an executive order, and that the freeze will be temporary.
“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!”
No details regarding when the order will be signed or the timing of the immigration ban itself were given. It is unclear how Green Card holders residing abroad will be affected by the immigration suspension.
According to a report by Politico which cited three people familiar with the situation, the Department of Homeland Security is still drafting the executive order.
Following the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic and the lockdowns imposed to combat the virus’ spread, more than 22 million Americans have lost their jobs, with experts predicting that the national unemployment rate is likely to surge to 15% by the end of the second quarter of 2020, and to as high as 20% by next year.
Senator Kamala Harris (California-D), who had run for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination before suspending her campaign in December, blasted Trump over the planned order, calling it part of the president’s “anti-immigrant agenda”.
“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1. His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up,” Harris tweeted.