President Trump says that the entry of certain immigrants into the US during the coronavirus pandemic would be "detrimental."
President Trump has signed a new executive order which will limit immigration into the US effective from tonight, April 23, at midnight.
The details of his “Proclamation Suspending Entry of Immigrants Who Present Risk to the U.S. Labor Market During the Economic Recovery Following the COVID-19 Outbreak” reveal that the suspension essentially only affects new immigrants and provides for a number of exemptions.
As per the Proclamation, which was published on April 22, the limit on entry into the US applies to aliens who:
- are outside the United States on the effective date of this proclamation;
- do not have an immigrant visa that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation;
- and do not have an official travel document other than a visa (such as a transportation letter, an appropriate boarding foil, or an advance parole document) that is valid on the effective date of this proclamation or issued on any date thereafter that permits him or her to travel to the United States and seek entry or admission.
The limit on entry into the US does not apply to:
- any lawful permanent resident of the United States;
- any alien seeking to enter the United States on an immigrant visa as a physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional; to perform medical research or other research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19; or to perform work essential to combating, recovering from, or otherwise alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees; and any spouse and unmarried children under 21 years old of any such alien who are accompanying or following to join the alien;
- any alien applying for a visa to enter the United States pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program;
- any alien who is the spouse of a United States citizen;
- any alien who is under 21 years old and is the child of a United States citizen, or who is a prospective adoptee seeking to enter the United States pursuant to the IR-4 or IH-4 visa classifications;
- any alien whose entry would further important United States law enforcement objectives, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees, based on a recommendation of the Attorney General or his designee;
- any member of the United States Armed Forces and any spouse and children of a member of the United States Armed Forces;
- any alien seeking to enter the United States pursuant to a Special Immigrant Visa in the SI or SQ classification, subject to such conditions as the Secretary of State may impose, and any spouse and children of any such individual; or
any alien whose entry would be in the national interest, as determined by the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Homeland Security, or their respective designees.
The Proclamation is set to last for 60 days beginning at 11:59 pm EST on Thursday, April 23.
The Proclamation adds: “Within 30 days of the effective date of this proclamation, the Secretary of Labor and the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, shall review nonimmigrant programs and shall recommend to me other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers."
While President Trump says the suspension on immigration is meant to protect US workers, he adds that immigration could also cause strain to consular services and healthcare resources. He says in his Proclamation: "I have determined that the entry, during the next 60 days, of certain aliens as immigrants would be detrimental to the interests of the United States."
President Trump announces his suspension to US immigration
President Trump first announced the suspension to US immigration in a tweet on Monday, April 20:
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
In a press conference on April 21, President Trump said: “We have a solemn duty to ensure these unemployed Americans regain their jobs and their livelihoods. Therefore, in order to protect American workers, I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States, you heard about that last night.
“By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens. So important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.”
The Proclamation also asserts that immigration during the coronavirus pandemic would put a strain on consular services and healthcare resources.
Later in the press briefing’s question and answer session, President Trump was asked under what conditions he feels it would be appropriate to lift the immigration ban. He replied: “I think right now, obviously there’s never been, we’re the greatest economy in the world and then one day we had to shut it down, they said ‘you have to shut it down.’ We did the right thing because I think we would have had a million or maybe even 2 million or maybe more than that deaths, so we did the right thing.
“But, certainly this would pertain. When you look at it right now, the last thing we want to do is take American workers’ jobs. It’s one thing when we were essentially, they used to call it full employment, and it’s another thing right now. Right now, we have people that have lost their jobs and we hope that they’re gonna come back and come back fast. Then we can have an even deeper discussion but right now we have to have jobs for Americans."
During a press briefing on April 22, President Trump said he had signed the executive order:
On April 23, he revealed that the executive order was “ready to go:”
Fully signed and ready to go! https://t.co/MdpgII3kuq— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2020
At the time of publishing, there are more than 845,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, the highest of any country. More than 26 million people in the US have applied for unemployment benefits since March 14.