Trump signs order halting immigration to the US to ensure Americans will be first in line for jobs

Citing the need to preserve healthcare resources and ensure the more than 22 million Americans made unemployed by coronavirus response will be taken care of, US President Donald Trump has suspended most forms of immigration.

The 60-day moratorium, that can be extended if needed, bars entry to the US to anyone outside the US who doesn’t have a valid immigrant visa or other valid document that would grant them admission, beginning a minute before midnight on Thursday, April 23.

President @realDonaldTrump just signed a proclamation temporarily suspending immigration into the United States.This will ensure unemployed Americans will be FIRST in line for jobs as our economy re-opens and preserve our healthcare resources for American patients.

Trump justified the measure by citing the record unemployment claims due to the lockdown measures imposed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic, and noting that without such an intervention the US “faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand.”

The order carves out a number of exemptions. Notably, it does not apply to anyone who is a permanent US resident (“green card” holder), spouses of US citizens, under-21 children of US citizens, or members of the US armed forces and their spouses or children.

Also exempt are immigrant investors under the EB-5 program, children seeking adoption under IR-4 or IH-4 visas, anyone seeking admission under SI or SQ special visas, those whose entry would “further important United States law enforcement objectives,” or be “in the national interest.”

Any “physician, nurse, or other healthcare professional” or who intend to perform medical or other research intended to alleviate the effects of Covid-19 or combat its spread are also exempted from the ban.

Though temporary farm workers (H-2A visa holders) were not specifically exempted in the order, Trump said he was “taking care” of American farmers. 

The 60-day ban could be “modified” going forward to be tougher or “less tough,” the president told reporters on Wednesday, without offering details.

US immigration law gives Trump extensive authority to limit entry of foreigners into the country. However, both his allies and critics have criticized this order when it was teased on Tuesday – with Democrats claiming it was “racist” and “xenophobic” and unnecessary, while some Republican immigration hawks arguing it does not go far enough.

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