President Trump on Wednesday evening signed an executive order “temporarily suspending immigration into the United States.”
Trump said the move, which he announced in a Monday tweet, was necessary to help Americans get back to work after the coronavirus pandemic.
“This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,” he said.
The order includes a long list of exemptions, including for people who are currently in the country and those who are seeking entry to the U.S. to work as physicians and nurses, in addition to spouses and minor children of American citizens. The 60-day suspension also does not affect hundreds of thousands of temporary work visas which the country issues every year.
The temporary policy will limit the ability of current green card holders to sponsor their extended families, a practice the president has previously called “chain immigration” and tried to restrict.
On Monday, 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
He followed that up with this tweet on Wednesday:
I will be signing my Executive Order prohibiting immigration into our Country today. In the meantime, even without this order, our Southern Border, aided substantially by the 170 miles of new Border Wall & 27,000 Mexican soldiers, is very tight – including for human trafficking!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 22, 2020
In discussing the action, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said, “This is common sense the American people can very well understand: When Americans need jobs, Americans must come first.”
“The president’s immigration policy just makes sense,” agreed Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh. With 22 million Americans applying for unemployment in recent weeks, he asked, “Why would you in good conscience introduce brand-new competition for them?”