Johana Vazquez Advertising Manager
Amid the Coronavirus pandemic crisis, Trump announced during a conference Tuesday, Apr. 21, that he would sign into place an executive order aimed at temporarily barring those seeking permanent residency. This, however, would not affect temporary workers such as technology workers, farm laborers, and others with visas. The bar would only place a 60-day pause on the issuance of green cards.
Trump’s reason behind placing this executive order is to “put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” Trump said at the White House. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.” In the past month, 22 million people have filed for unemployment.
The Migration Policy Institute estimated that approximately 110,000 green cards could be delayed during a two-month pause. Depending on the economic conditions after the 60-day pause, Trump will consider whether to extend the order or not.
Certain details about the order have not been outlined. According to Ted Hesson, Steve Holland and Jeff Mason, Anonymous tips from administrative officials have said it would only affect people applying for permanent residency from outside the U.S. As stated by Jill Colvin and Elliot Spagat of the Associated Press, another official said American citizens seeking to bring their immediate family to the U.S. would still be allowed to do so. However, exemptions are subject to change until a draft is finalized, legally reviewed, and signed.
Administration officials have also mentioned that the order is unlikely to make a serious impact considering most of the immigration system has been paused due to the pandemic and green cards are not being processed. Offices are closed and in-person appointments delayed.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services temporarily halted in-person services through at least May 3, affecting DACA renewals and naturalization oath ceremonies for new citizens. Almost all visa processing is suspended. Court hearings and interviews for asylum seekers have been placed on hold. Refugee resettlement is also on hold.
The recently proposed executive order is one of many steps Trump has made to curb legal and illegal immigration into the United States during the pandemic. The health crisis has paved the way for the Trump administration to place restrictions on immigration that would otherwise not be possible.
The U.S., Canada, and Mexico have closed their shared borders to tourist and recreational travel just last month to limit the spread of the virus. The shutdown was extended this week to May 2021.
Border officials were given new rules, bypassing standard legal processes, to swiftly deport migrants who attempt to cross into the country illegally. More than 10,000 migrants, according to Mica Rosenburg and Hesson, have been expelled under the new border rules, including children. Deportations by plane continue with the risk that detainees will return to their home countries carrying the virus. As of now, it is unclear how long the immigration system will be affected by the Trump administration and the waging Coronavirus pandemic. The U.S. currently has the world’s leading number of cases and death tolls with over 830,000 cases and over 46,000 deaths. But as borders are closed and people are kept out, the Trump administration has unveiled guidelines for state governments to begin, “Opening Up America Again.”