WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order Wednesday to temporarily stop foreigners from getting green cards.
It is one in a series of steps by the president to use the coronavirus pandemic to push long-stalled immigration measures during an election year. While Trump says the move is designed to preserve jobs for American workers in an economy ravaged by the coronavirus, it is widely viewed by partisans on both sides of the immigration battle as driven more by politics than policy.
The 60-day pause would apply only to green cards, leaving untouched the hundreds of thousands of temporary work visas the county issues each year.
Later Wednesday the White House released a proclamation regarding the suspension.
Read the full proclamation below:
PRESIDENT DONALD J. TRUMP IS HONORING HIS COMMITMENT TO PROTECT AMERICAN WORKERS BY TEMPORARILY PAUSING IMMIGRATION
“By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens. So important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.” – President Donald J. Trump
PROTECTING AMERICAN WORKERS: President Donald J. Trump is taking action to temporarily pause immigration and protect American workers as we confront the coronavirus.
- President Trump is suspending new immigrant visas to put American communities and workers first as we move toward safely reopening the economy.
- President Trump has a duty to ensure we help Americans regain their jobs and livelihoods.
- This is a temporary pause demanded by the crisis we are facing as a Nation.
- The pause will be in effect for 60 days, and the Administration will continue to monitor the labor market to amend or extend the proclamation if needed.
- There will be exemptions for medical and other essential workers to combat the outbreak, spouses and minor children of American citizens, and certain other aliens.
- President Trump is also asking his Administration to review guest worker programs to assess whether additional measures should be taken to protect American workers.
HELPING AMERICANS RECOVER: President Trump’s efforts will ensure we continue to put American workers first as we begin to reopen our economy.
- American workers have been hurt through no fault of their own due to the coronavirus.
- It would be unfair to allow Americans out of work due to the coronavirus to be replaced by new immigrant labor brought into the United States.
- Mass migration of low-skilled labor into the United States disproportionately harms historically disadvantaged Americans.
- African Americans and other minorities, Americans without a college degree, and others are especially harmed by an influx of foreign labor.
BACKED BY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE: The American people strongly support common sense efforts to restrict immigration as we confront the coronavirus.
- Recent polling shows Americans strongly stand behind restricting immigration into the country during this crisis.
- Nearly 80% of those polled said they favor a temporary pause on immigration into the United States, according to a recent USA Today/Ipsos poll.
- As we face the challenges posed by coronavirus, a recent Pew Research Center poll found that 81% of Americans see mass immigration as a threat.
- A recent Scott Rasmussen survey found that 70% of those polled agreed that the Government should place a temporary ban on foreign entry into the United States.
- Even Democrats and liberal pundits used to warn against mass migration and advocate for protections for American workers.
- Sen. Bernie Sanders in 2015: “You think we should open the borders and bring in a lot of low-wage workers, or do you think maybe we should try to get jobs for those [American] kids?”
- Paul Krugman has said “Immigration reduces the wages of domestic workers who compete with immigrants. That’s just supply and demand.”
- Then-Sen. Barack Obama warned that mass migration “threatens to depress further the wages of blue-collar Americans and put strains on an already overburdened safety net.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.