Last month, President Donald Trump raised controversy when he imposed a new 60-day rule banning the admission of select groups of new immigrants to the United States.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the Trump administration is now planning to extend the rule and impose new restrictions on legal immigration amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Putting America first
When speaking about the April executive order, Trump pointed to high coronavirus-related unemployment numbers as justification for the move.
“It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrants, labor flown in from abroad,” he said Wednesday, according to Politico. “We must first take care of the American worker.”
While the policy stopped the issuance of new green cards, it makes exceptions for essential workers, including health care professionals, as well as the immediate family members of U.S. citizens.
Temporary foreign workers were all also permitted to continue entering the country, with agricultural workers making up a large number of those excepted.
Will it help?
Of course, not everyone is pleased with Trump’s latest measure. While some condemned the decision as being motivated by racism, others complained that the restrictions weren’t far-reaching enough.
“Briefly delaying green cards for people, most of whom are already in the U.S. and working, and ignoring work visas doesn’t help U.S. workers and doesn’t ease pressure on hospitals,” Mark Krikorian, who serves as executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told Politico.
Tightening the rules
The details of Trump’s new order are not yet clear, but the Wall Street Journal says that it will include an extension of the previous order, while broadening the categories of people affected.
“The president’s immigration advisers are drawing up plans for a coming executive order, expected this month, that would ban the issuance of some new temporary, work-based visas,” the Journal reported.
The report went on: “The order is expected to focus on visa categories including H-1B, designed for highly skilled workers, and H-2B, for seasonal migrant workers, as well as student visas and the work authorization that accompanies them.”
Meanwhile, lockdown efforts aimed at controlling the COVID-19 pandemic have led to the country’s worst jobless numbers since the Great Depression. On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that America’s unemployment rate stood at 14.7%, as the Washington Examiner reported.