President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday that temporarily restricts some immigration into the United States. The order suspends the issuance of new green cards for 60 days and can be extended after reevaluation. The order can affect thousands of foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the US and will not apply to people who are changing their immigration status in the country. It also excludes current green card holders, spouses and children of the US citizens, members of the US Armed Forces and their families, healthcare workers, and prospective investor visas holders among others, according to CNN.
This policy is a part of a response by the Trump’s administration to the coronavirus crisis, according to Fox News. “This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,” said Trump during a coronavirus task force briefing. He pointed out that “would be wrong and unjust” to have new immigrants replacing Americans who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The order found a lot of support among Republicans and people advocating for lowering immigration into the US. Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) tweeted: “22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month because of the China virus. Let’s help them get back to work before we import more foreigners to compete for their jobs.” The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) issued a statement they “were thrilled to learn” about this order, but called on Trump to go even further and pause virtually all immigration, including guest workers who were exempt from this rule.
Trump’s new policy was widely criticized by Democrats and immigrants’ rights activists even just after it was announced on Monday. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) blasted Trump as “Xenophobe in Chief” after the President tweeted that he is planning to sign an executive order and details were not clear. Several Democrats accused Trump of using the crisis to further curtail immigration and advance his agenda. “President Trump’s transparent attempt to distract from his own failures with this unwarranted suspension will cause real pain for families and employers across the country,” said Omar Jadwat, a lawyer for ACLU on Wednesday night.