President Trump said Tuesday he will order a 60-day halt to new immigrants arriving from outside the country, with an eye toward preventing them from competing with Americans for jobs amid the coronavirus crisis — though he said temporary guest workers will still be allowed.
Mr. Trump said he felt a “solemn duty” to Americans thrown out of work by what he calls the “invisible enemy” of coronavirus.
“It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” the president said at the White House.
The president has long eyed a halt to some newcomers, though Tuesday’s announcement seemed to leave a giant loophole in allowing temporary guest workers to still enter the U.S.
Those workers are the ones most analysts point to as undercutting Americans’ wages, where permanent immigrants — green card holders — are not usually seen as the chief competition.
d his plans on Twitter late Monday night, sending immigrant-rights groups into a fury.
“President Trump continues to politicize this pandemic to further his racist anti-immigrant agenda at the expense of every American’s health,” said Steve Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition.
Frank Sharry at America’s Voice, another advocacy group, called Mr. Trump’s focus on immigration “sad and predictable.”
“The president is failing. Americans are dying. He has no plan. He is doing too little too late on testing. He is responding to the worst crisis in our lifetime with spin, bluster, lies and self-congratulation. His reelection prospects are endangered. He’s panicking,” Mr. Sharry said.
Groups that back stricter immigration controls, though, said Mr. Trump was helping Americans.
“Coronavirus is crippling both the health and work prospects of American citizens. To allow a continued influx of foreign nationals at this time would only worsen the situation,” said Dale Wilcox, executive director and general counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute