US President Trump Suspends Issuing of New Green Cards for 60 Days
Trump called it as “the need to protect the jobs of great American citizens.”
The United States President Donald Trump has said that he will halt issuing of new Green Cards or legal permanent residency for the next 60 days as part of his executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the US.
However, the move will not have any impact on those entering the country on a temporary basis, Trump said on Tuesday.
Many have interpreted that those on non-immigrant work visas like H-1B issued mainly to foreign technology professionals will not be impacted. Seasonal immigrant workers for agricultural purposes too will not be impacted.
In any case, the executive order to be signed by Trump on Wednesday will impact a large number of tens and thousands of Indian Americans, who are waiting to get a green card. This is expected to further delay the process.
‘Have to Have Jobs For Americans’
“The last thing we want to do is take American workers' jobs. It's one thing when we were at essentially--they used to call it full employment and it's another thing right now,” he said.
“Right now, we have people that have lost their jobs and we hope they’re going to come back and come back fast and then we can have an even deeper discussion. But right now, we have to have jobs for Americans,” he asserted.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday, 21 April said that he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into America, amid the coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 40,000 people in the US, the country with the most fatalities in the pandemic.
The number of people killed in the US due to COVID-19 has reached 42,094, according to Johns Hopkins University, and more than 750,000 cases have been confirmed.
“We must first take care of the American worker... This pause will be in effect for 60 days, after which need for any extension or modification will be evaluated by myself and a group of people based on economic conditions at the time," Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on coronavirus.
“This order will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency, in other words, those receiving green cards, big factor, will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis,” he asserted.
Without elaborating, he said that there will be exemptions.
Details of the Trump's executive order were not immediately known. He also did not indicate when he will sign such an order.
The president’s announcement comes as his administration seeks to reopen parts of the US from the COVID-19 shutdown. However, the NBC News reported that the move “had been under consideration for a while,” a senior administration official was quoted as saying by the report.
The official said that the details about how the plan would be implemented and how many countries would be affected “will be forthcoming,” the report added.
Meanwhile, Trump's announcement drew sharp criticism from Democrats and immigration advocates. California’s Indian-origin Democratic Senator Harris said the president was taking advantage of the situation to push his hard-line immigration policies.
“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1. His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he's shamelessly politicising this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda”, Harris tweeted.
Democrat Joaquin Castro tweeted that, “This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump's failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda.”
“This is not about the policy. It is about the message the president wants to send. He wants people to turn against 'the other.' And, regardless of the valuable contributions immigrants are making to the response and recovery, he sees immigrants as the easiest to blame,” Ali Noorani, the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, was quoted as saying by CNN.
While Trump talked about suspending immigration visa, the H-1B visa, which is more popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa. But his reasoning that he needs to protect jobs of American citizens indicates that non-immigrant work visas too might be on his target.
The United States, due to coronavirus, has experienced a record layoff. As off last week, a record number of 22 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits.
Trump has already closed the Northern and Southern border that attracts a large number of illegal immigrants. Travel restrictions and closing of consulate services in many countries including India are already having an impact on issuing of new H-1B visas.
Last month, the United States suspended all routine visa services around the world due to the global coronavirus pandemic.
Globally, more than 2.4 million people have been infected with the virus and over 165,000 killed, according to the the university tracker.
Subscribe To Our Daily Newsletter And Get News Delivered Straight To Your Inbox.