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President Trump will impose immigration ban in bid to tackle coronavirus?

09:00 | 22/04/2020

Almost international press reported on President Donald Trump said on Monday he will suspend all immigration into the United States temporarily through an executive order in response to the coronavirus outbreak and to protect American jobs.

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U.S. President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2020

CNN reported on April 21 that Trump administration officials on Tuesday morning scrambled to finalize an executive order after President Donald Trump said in a late-night tweet he would temporarily suspend immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

"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!" he tweeted.

Officials were still working to draft the executive order, according to an administration official, but hope to have it completed in the next few days for Trump to sign. While the language is still being finalized, the order is expected to temporarily halt the issuance of new green cards and work visas -- steps that had already effectively already been in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And The guardian said that Donald Trump has been accused of “xenophobic scapegoating” after announcing he will order a temporary ban on immigration into the US to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

There were no other details on the timing, scope or legal basis of the president’s proposed executive order and no official policy statement from the White House.

Instead there was a lone tweet issued by Trump at 10.06pm on Monday. Without warning, he wrote to "temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”

The post generated instant uncertainty. Similar moves by Trump in the past have triggered mayhem at airports in America and beyond as well as legal challenges. Such an order would be a far-reaching use of executive power from a president who last week claimed he had “total” authority over states’ efforts to reopen their economies.

Robert O’Brien, the national security adviser, told the Fox News channel: “We’re trying to do everything, the president’s trying to do everything he can to put the health of the American people first during this crisis. So this is one step. It’s not dissimilar to the restrictions on travel from China that he implemented back on January 29 at the very outset of this public health crisis.”

But with more than 22 million people filing for unemployment aid in recent weeks, the White House press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, put the emphasis on jobs: “As President Trump has said, ‘Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.’ At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary.”

president trump will impose immigration ban in bid to tackle coronavirus
Photo: theguardian

In a statement on Tuesday, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany did not provide additional details or timing for the executive order, nor did she mention any health benefits to the ban. Instead, she emphasized employment implications of the planned immigration pause.

"President Trump is committed to protecting the health and economic well-being of American citizens as we face unprecedented times," she wrote. "As President Trump has said, 'Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African American and Latino workers.' At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary."

The Department of Homeland Security didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

As a result of coronavirus and attempts to curtail its spread, immigration to the United States has been largely cut off: Refugee resettlement has been put on hold, visa offices are largely closed and citizenship ceremonies aren't happening. Trump didn't offer details Monday on what he intends to do to further restrict immigration in the face of coronavirus.

Immigrant advocates immediately pushed back against the tweet.

"This is not about the policy. It is about the message the president wants to send. He wants people to turn against 'the other.' And, regardless of the valuable contributions immigrants are making to the response and recovery, he sees immigrants as the easiest to blame," Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, said on Twitter.

Trump's tweet comes as the administration seeks to reopen parts of the country from the coronavirus shutdown through a phased approach, but it's also a continuation of the President's 2016 campaign promise to slow immigration.

Trump has repeatedly touted his decision to halt travel from China and Europe as a means of blunting the spread of coronavirus in the United States.

Citing the "unscreened" and "unvetted" people who come into the US across the southern border, Trump said late last month that the border would be sealed off "mostly, and even beyond, but mostly during this global pandemic." Restrictions on nonessential travel remain in effect and on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced they'd be extended with Mexico and Canada.

The administration has also put in place an order allowing the US to swiftly remove migrants arrested at the border, including children, CNN

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