Donald Trump has announced a 60-day ban on immigrants seeking to live and work in America permanently, and said he could extend it depending on the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
The US president framed the executive order, which he expects to sign on Wednesday, as an effort to protect American workers from foreign competition. He said it would apply only to those seeking green cards and not temporary workers, but he did not explain how those whose applications are currently being processed would be affected.
“By pausing immigration, we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens – so important,” Trump told reporters at Tuesday’s coronavirus taskforce briefing. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labour flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker.
The “pause” would be in effect for 60 days, he added, after which the need for an extension or alternation would be reviewed “based on economic conditions at the time”. Under questioning, he confirmed that he might then decide to add a further 30 days or more.
The president, who has long campaigned against illegal immigration and again touted his US-Mexico border wall at Tuesday’s briefing, added that the move would help conserve medical resources for US citizens.