US President Donald Trump had recently hinted towards re-opening certain sectors of the US economy, despite the regularly growing cases of COVID-19 in the country. However, he is also planning to impose strict restrictions on immigration rules over the next 60 days. He has already halted non-essential travel and suspended regular visa services at U.S. embassies.
Trump suggested that he plans to impose immigration restrictions over the next two months, in order to save protect American jobs, so that they can be brought back into employment, without any competition from foreign job seekers.
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
In a White House briefing, Trump said, “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker.” Since the pandemic struck, as many as 22 million Americans have filed for unemployment.
Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary was quoted saying, “President Trump is committed to protecting the health and economic well-being of American citizens as we face unprecedented times. At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, the action is necessary.”
As a part of this initiative, the US government will halt new green card awards for at least 60 days. However, Trump clarified that this would not apply to temporary seasonal workers who arrive in America through various Visa programs.
Unlike the previous time when Trump’s idea to reopen the economy did not go down well with certain business and political leaders, this time he has received considerable support. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark, and Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA seemed to be on the same page as Trump, in terms of the reasoning behind the temporary immigration halting.
On the other hand, some believe that this move is nothing but a political strategy. Ben Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association said in an interview with USA Today, “He’s doing this at a time when there is nobody traveling. Everybody needs to understand that this is a political strategy and if it ever turns into a policy strategy, it’s going to make things much worse, not better.”
Jason Oxman, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council, echoed similar sentiments as Ben. He opined that foreign workers are an important part of the economy, and they will be a vital aspect of the recovery.