President Donald Trump signed an executive order suspending some new immigration for 60 days, with exceptions for essential workers, spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens.
“Trump thinks that this is a way to make sure that the 22 million people that are unemployed can get back to work, it is unclear if it will work out as he plans,” said Mack Shelley, Iowa State professor and chair of the political science department.
The order pauses the issuance of green cards for 60 days, while the Trump administration will continue to monitor the labor market. The Trump administration said they created the proclamation to ensure American workers are first in line for jobs as the country reopens.
“By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” Trump said in a White House news release. “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 suspension applies to those who are outside the United States and do not currently have a valid visa or official travel documents other than visas. There are exceptions for medical and other essential workers, along with spouses and minor children of U.S. citizens. The suspension does not apply to health care professionals or medical researchers seeking to enter the U.S. on a visa to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
Trump first announced his plans to sign an order that would suspend at least some immigration late Monday in a tweet.
“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 said in the tweet.
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 Trump administration claims they want to put American workers first because many lost their jobs due to the pandemic.
“It would be unfair to allow Americans out of work due to the coronavirus to be replaced by new immigrant labor brought into the United State,” according to a White House news release.
The news release cited a USAToday poll finding 80 percent of Americans are in favor of temporarily implementing restrictions on immigration into the United States.
After 60 days of the ban, the Trump administration will reevaluate and decide to extend or renew the proclamation if needed.
“It is going to depend on how much pushback Trump gets, he could care less about what the Democrats or moderates say,” Shelley said. “He’s going to pay attention to pushback he gets from his own neighborhood, like Fox News and those in high roles in big corporate offices.”
After Trump signed the order he has received support from supporters and other government officials.
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., quote tweeted the president's original tweet, and offered support for Trump's action.
“22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month because of the China virus," Cotton said in the tweet. "Let’s help them get back to work before we import more foreigners to compete for their jobs.”
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. https://t.co/0a03nncxeC— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) April 21, 2020
Since Trump’s first tweet about the order, he has received pushback from elected officials in the Democratic Party.
“This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda," said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, in a tweet. "We must come together to reject his division.”
This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda. We must come together to reject his division. https://t.co/wYEai4rYVY— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) April 21, 2020