Trump did not refer to drastic immigration measures during his long daily coronavirus briefing earlier Monday evening. Immigration has largely declined during the pandemic as the president hopes to save a strong economy that had become one of his main campaign points in the run-up to the November elections.
Trump has already boasted that closing borders to foreigners from China is a testament to his administration’s quick and serious reaction to the threat of the coronavirus. International travel has stalled, with countries around the world having imposed travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease.
Trump’s tweet did not specify what specific action he would take: he could simply suspend entries for a period of time, or cancel a specific program for the year altogether.
The Ministry of Internal Security is still drawing up the executive decree, according to three people familiar with the situation. One possibility that has been discussed is an exemption for temporary guest workers, including those working on farms.
When asked what had helped the decision, a senior DHS official replied, “22 million Americans unemployed and out of Covid-19.”
Since the start of the pandemic, the administration has already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada, and Mexico, and has suspended the processing of immigrants trying to enter the United States on a visa. non-worker due to office closings. This means that the impact would likely only affect immigrants coming here to work.
Trump has been called by the Conservatives to stop allowing foreign workers to enter the United States because millions of Americans are unemployed after closures to stop the spread of the virus. But for weeks, his administration allowed them to enter.
Specifically, the United States has relaxed requirements for immigrants to obtain certain jobs, such as farm workers, landscapers and crab gatherers, recognizing that certain industries, including those that fill grocery store shelves, could be injured if they could not hire foreign employees. It has also started to soften the process for companies looking to hire foreign workers, modifying certain administrative formalities, including allowing electronic signatures and forgoing physical document inspection.
In early April, the administration reverted to a plan to suspend the approval of 35,000 additional visas for seasonal workers, pending further review.
Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, running for a Senate seat in Alabama, pushed for a complete moratorium on immigration in the United States in Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show last week.
Carlson was in close contact with Trump during the virus and was one of the main outside allies pushing him to ban travel to China in early January.
Immediately after the president’s tweet on Monday evening, radical immigration groups acclaimed decision.
“The president’s comments reflect a sensitivity to a primary objective of all immigration laws in each country, and that is to protect the vulnerable workers of a nation,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, who supports restrictions. “With tens of millions of Americans unwilling to work full time, most migration is meaningless today, and allowing it to continue at its current level at that time would show an insane disregard for those who suffer deep economic suffering. “
Trump’s decision will anger business, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who argued that foreign workers are essential for businesses that may not be able to find enough unemployed Americans ready to take on certain jobs.
The move could contradict Trump’s previous statements. He has repeatedly praised the importance of farm visas in recent weeks.
“We want them to come in,” he said in early April. “We are not closing the border so that we cannot bring these people in. They have been there for years and years, and I have given a commitment to the farmers: they will keep coming. Or we will not have farmers. “
Despite Trump’s campaign wish to reduce immigration, the number of immigrants on temporary visas has steadily increased during his presidency, reaching 925,000 in 2018, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
While there is no cap on the total number of temporary workers, there are annual limits for several of the dozen categories of visas. Over a million immigrants are allowed to enter the United States permanently, but only a fraction – 140,000 – come from job categories.
Representative Joaquin Castro (D-Texas), chairman of the House Hispanic Caucus and deputy chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned Trump’s remarks as a mere hijacking of the criticism the president received for his response to the virus.