Donald Trump has announced plans to ban immigration to the United States in a bid to ‘protect American jobs’ amid the coronavirus crisis.
The US President tweeted on Monday: ‘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 has already used health concerns to ban people travelling to the US from Europe and China as the coronavirus pandemic first took hold. He has also slowed visa processing, and barred asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants from entering the country.
The President is still yet to provide further details about the new order, but it is believed key workers, such as migrant medics and farmer, are not included. It is likely to receive legal challenges.
A formal order barring the provision of green cards and work visas could come in the next few days, The New York Times reports. This would shut down legal immigration system in the same way illegal immigration has been banned.
Trump has a history of wanting to reduce immigration into the US, and there are now concerns that the coronavirus pandemic, and the hit on the economy, is being used to justify preventing foreigners from entering the country.
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As of Monday, 42,940 people have died from Covid-19 in the US, while there are over 800,000 known cases of the virus.
There is currently least 22,000,000 Americans currently out of work as a result of social-distancing measures put in place across the country. Around 13.5% of the US workforce has collapsed.
There were 5,200,000 new claims for unemployment benefits filed last week, according to the latest Labor Department figures. The largest number of people to ask for unemployment benefits in a four-week period before the pandemic was in 1992, when around 2,700,000 sought support.
Texas congressman Joaquin Castro has called Trump’s announcement ‘an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis’.
He tweeted: ‘This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda. We must come together to reject his division.’
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