International desk – President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States as the nation battles the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
US media said the Trump’s plan amid the virus emergency drew criticism from across the political spectrum
“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!” Trump tweeted.
CNN reported that it was unclear what mechanism he will use to suspend immigration, how long such a suspension could last or what effect this will have on the operation of US border crossings and on those who already hold green cards.
The White House declined to provide further information on the executive order Monday evening. 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, the broadcaster reported.