With America reeling from the impacts of the coronavirus that breached its borders after brewing in China, President Donald Trump on Monday said he wants to temporarily suspend immigration to promote a national recovery and protect Americans.
“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!” Trump tweeted.
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 tweet was Trump’s only Monday comment on the matter.
As of Tuesday morning, no order had been issued.
It was unclear whether Trump planned to suspend entry into the United States for a period of time or cancel any single immigration program outright.
“President Trump is committed to protecting the health and economic well-being of American citizens as we face unprecedented times,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement, according to a media pool report.
“As President Trump has said, ‘Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.’ At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary.”
The Washington Post, citing two unnamed White House officials, said the order is being draft for Trump to sign, with that action potentially coming Tuesday.
Specifically, the order is being written up by the Department of Homeland Security, according to Politico.
The order, The Post reported, “would suspend nearly all immigration under the rationale of preventing the spread of infection by foreigners arriving from abroad.”
White House officials do not believe that the order would be in effect long-term, the outlet added.
Alex Nowrasteh, director of immigration studies at the libertarian Cato Institute, told The Post that in a time of national emergency, a president probably has the power to temporarily block immigration.
Although the White House was sparing with details, congressional Democrats did not wait for the full picture to emerge before denouncing the expected order:
Xenophobe. In. Chief. https://t.co/zluqbqG6DQ
— Hakeem Jeffries (@RepJeffries) April 21, 2020
This is beyond belief.
Immigrants have always made America great. Suspending immigration & giving into racism & xenophobia won’t solve our problems.
Instead it will have a catastrophic impact on our health care, food supply & the systems we are relying upon during this crisis. https://t.co/lM427P0h2S
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) April 21, 2020
Pathetic attempt to shift blame from his Visible Incompetence to an Invisible Enemy. The President needs to reread the Declaration of Independence, criticizing King George for restricting immigration to America. https://t.co/LO0OndE88A
— Tim Kaine (@timkaine) April 21, 2020
But others said Trump was delivering the medicine America needs:
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) April 21, 2020
“The president’s comments reflect a sensitivity to a primary purpose of all immigration laws of every country, and that is to protect a nation’s vulnerable workers,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, which supports immigration restrictions.
“With tens of millions of Americans who want to work full time not able to, most immigration makes no sense today, and to allow it to continue at its current level at this time would show a callous disregard for those enduring deep economic suffering,” he told Politico.
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