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President Trump on Wednesday signed an executive order restricting some forms of immigration into the U.S. as part of the administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
"In order to protect our great American workers, I’ve just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States,” the president said during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House. “This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens."
What's in the order?
The order cites “the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor” as a reason for the restriction -- as well as pressures on health care and other factors.
“In light of the above, I have determined that the entry, during the next 60 days, of certain aliens as immigrants would be detrimental to the interests of the United States,” it says.
Who is affected by it?
The order suspends green cards for immigrants who are currently outside the U.S. and do not already have a valid immigrant visa already. Visa services have already been suspended by the State Department, but it is unclear when those would resume.
Those affected include people awarded permanent residence under the diversity lottery, work green cards and chain migration. People who are seeking Green Cards under US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) are already in the country, so they are not subject to the pause.
But there are a considerable number of exceptions in the order. In addition to not applying to nonimmigrant (temporary) visas, it does not apply to:
- Current green card holders
- Those seeking to come in as a health care professional, medical researcher, or other work related to combating, recovering from or alleviating the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.
- Those applying for a visa under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, or the SI or SQ Special immigrant visa.
- A spouse or child of a U.S. citizen
- An immigrant who would help U.S. law enforcement objectives
- Member of the U.S. Armed Forces, or their spouses and children.
- Any immigrant whose entry would seem to be “in the national interest.”
The order notes that it is not limiting the ability of individuals to seek asylum, refugee status, withholding of removal or protection under various humanitarian agreements.
How long does it last?
It is scheduled to expire in 60 days from Wednesday and adds that within 50 days the Homeland Security secretary, secretary of state and labor secretary shall recommend to the president whether the order should be continued or modified.
They are also to consult with Trump after 30 days to “review nonimmigrant programs and [to recommend] other measures appropriate to stimulate the United States economy and ensure the prioritization, hiring and employment of United States workers.”
Fox News' Alex Pappas contributed to this report.