(UnitedVoice.com) – On Monday evening, President Donald Trump announced on Twitter that he was suspending all immigration into the United States. Over the last few months, the US enacted numerous immigration controls to control the spread of COVID-19. Trump’s new order appears to be an escalation of his efforts to fight the virus and boost the economy.
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 February, the president blocked all travel to and from China, South Korea and Iran. In March he added Europe to the list. All were major global hotspots of COVID-19. More recently, the US, Canada, and Mexico agreed to extend border restrictions on all non-essential travel. For Canada, it will last through May 16 and through May 19 for Mexico. In early April, the State Department suspended the processing of non-working visas due to office closures.
Under Title 42 of the US Code, the president has the authority to stop immigration and close the border to all immigration for health reasons. Additionally, a 2018 US Supreme Court decision upheld his former travel bans, giving him legal precedent. The executive order halting all immigration is expected to be temporary and lasts for approximately 120 days.
Exemptions to the Immigration Ban
The details of the president’s executive order were unknown as of 11 am Tuesday. However, reports were coming out that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was working on drafting the executive order. Under consideration is an exemption for temporary guest workers, including farm workers.
Before Trump’s announcement on Monday night, those with temporary work visas, business travelers, students, and emergency personnel were exempted from previous executive orders. It’s unknown if that will remain the case in light of Trump’s announcement.
Trump’s Executive Order Brings Applause and Disapproval
Many of the same Democrats who harshly criticized Trump’s ban on travel to and from China, though they were eventually forced to admit he was right, are criticizing the president for this decision. After Trump announced the Chinese ban in January, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden accused Trump of hysterical xenophobia and fear-mongering. Months later, he supported the China travel ban. Just after Trump’s announcement on Monday night, Biden tweeted that Trump needs to do his job and stop blaming others.
Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY), tweeted that Trump’s decision was a distraction from his COVID-19 response and that he was putting the blame on immigrants.
While lawsuits to prevent the ban by groups aligned with the Democratic Party are expected in the coming days, supporters of Trump’s decision applauded the decision saying it will help millions of American’s who want to find employment. Sen. Tom Cotton has been calling for a halt to immigration since January to protect American’s from COVID-19. He tweeted his support for the ban saying it’s more important to get Americans back to work before bringing in immigrants to compete with Americans for jobs.
RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), said putting on the brakes of immigration during a health crisis shouldn’t be controversial.
The administration says it expects to draft the executive order for the president’s signature in the next few days.
By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor
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