U.S. president announces he will sign executive order suspending immigration amid the coronavirus pandemic
U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday pledged on Twitter to sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States. However, he did not clarify if this would include all countries, or apply to visitors with work and other non-resident visas.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Trump wrote in the tweet, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
Trump’s pledge follows the March closures of the Mexican and Canadian borders to all non-essential travel, although trade is still allowed.
On March 11, the U.S. also barred the entry of all foreign nationals who had visited China, Iran or any of the following European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
On March 16, the list included the United Kingdom and Ireland.
On March 19, the U.S. State Department issued a Level 4 advisory recommending, but not requiring, against any global travel by U.S. citizens.
Democratic congressional members criticized Trump’s tweet shortly after he posted it. On Twitter, Representative Don Beyer of Virginia said: “From the beginning Trump has flailed about seeking someone to blame for his own failure. Obama. Governors. China. Speaker Pelosi. People of Asian descent. Immigration has nearly stopped and the U.S. has far more cases than any other country. This is just xenophobic scapegoating.”
Similarly, Representative Jerry Nadler of New York tweeted: “President Trump now seeks to distract us from his fumbled COVID-19 response by trying to put the blame on immigrants. The truth is many immigrants are on our front lines, protecting us as doctors, nurses, health aids, farmworkers, and restaurant workers.”
Representative Eric Swalwell of California added: “We don’t need to protect America from immigrants. We need to protect her from you.”
Predictably, Republican Senator Tom Cotton of Arkansas supported Trump’s pledge. “22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month because of the China virus. Let’s help them get back to work before we import more foreigners to compete for their jobs,” he posted on Twitter.
The U.S. currently has 792,930 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 42,518 deaths.