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The President of the United States, Donald Trump, announced the temporary suspension of immigration to protect the country from the coronavirus pandemic. Through his Twitter account, the president said he plans to sign an executive order to apply the drastic measure.

Trump initially did not offer details on the scope of the decree and how it would affect the immigration procedures in process. He only said he does it for a public health reason and to protect the American economy.

“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!!”

Donald Trump – U.S. president

However, this Wednesday April 22, he clarified that the executive order will only affect the procedures to obtain the Green Card or permanent residence card. The 60-day measure will not affect temporary workers entering the United States.

So far, no government agency or the White House have issued statements on the matter. The government decree (executive order) is unprecedented in the history of the United States.

It was known that several government secretariats are working together to shape the executive order that justifies the controversial decision.

The US president said that after 60 days the Green Card suspension decree will be reviewed again to assess whether it should be renewed. Although he did not clarify when that will be signed.

Trump emphasized the economic effects of the order, stating that it would:

“protect American workers.”

Trump

An administration source told CNN that Trump’s decree will only suspend green cards, because other visas for the United States, such as work visas (H-2A and H-2B visa), are a little more complicated to suspend them in these moments and would take more time to implement.

Thousands of alien workers are currently being employed in various production areas (agricultural, food processing, among others) and in the health area, due to the coronavirus pandemic that is affecting the country.

Hard-line immigration policy

Since the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak reached the United States, Trump has decided to close the country’s land borders with Mexico and Canada. International air traffic was also suspended, while visa services were paralyzed at US embassies and consulates worldwide.

On the other hand, the USA has suspended immigration laws and is deporting asylum seekers and other undocumented aliens to Mexico who managed to cross the border and were waiting for an administration decision.

Human rights organizations and migrant advocates have said the government is taking advantage of the pandemic to further tighten its zero-tolerance migration policy. In addition, they are concerned that the emergency measures that are being taken in immigration matters will be maintained after the health crisis passes.

Despite border confinement and closure measures, the federal administration extended the time for agricultural visas. Temporary foreign workers with H-2A visas may extend their stay in the country beyond the 3 years allowed.

The government also approved that they can change employers without the need to process a new visa. In this way, it hopes to prevent a crisis from breaking out in the countryside and affecting food production and supply.