President Trump signed an executive order Wednesday suspending immigration for 60 days in what he said was a move to “ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens.”
“At the end of 60 days, or maybe even during 60 days, I’ll extend it or not. And I’ll maybe change it. I might modify it,” Trump told reporters during the daily White House coronavirus task force briefing.
Asked if the restrictions were also applicable to people seeking temporary work visas, Trump replied that “it’s subject to change.”
“We have some people coming in, for instance, helping the farmers. We want to have the farmers take care – they’ve been coming for years and years, and they’re helping our farmers, and they’ve been coming in for years,” he said. “We don’t want to do – you know, the border has been turned off a number of times over the years. And you know what happened? Our farmers all went out of business. They were out of business. They couldn’t farm.”
According to the proclamation, the restriction applies only to those who were outside of the country at the time the proclamation was signed and do not already have a valid immigrant visa or other official travel document. The ban doesn’t apply to permanent residents or spouses and children of U.S. citizens, healthcare professionals, EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program applicants, members of the Armed Forces and their immediate families, and Special Immigrant Visas in the SI or SQ classification.
The Department of Homeland Security and State Department also have say over allowing in immigrants who would benefit U.S. law enforcement or other national security interests.
Refugees International Senior U.S. Advocate Yael Schacher called the order “an illegal effort to rewrite immigration law by executive fiat.”
“In the name of putting American workers first, the Executive Order needlessly suspends the admission of young children of legal permanent residents and elderly parents of naturalized American citizens, among others,” Schacher said. “…The order punishes some of the very immigrant families in the United States who are bearing the brunt of the coronavirus and contributing so much to efforts to fight it.”