The Trump administration on Wednesday night released its order limiting immigration into the United States, a move meant to help American workers amid record levels of unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The executive order, which goes into effect right before midnight on Thursday, will temporarily prohibit many green card applicants abroad from entering the country. Thousands of immigrants who enter via the lottery system will also be affected.
The order will be effective for 60 days, but can be renewed.
“I have determined that, without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand,” President Donald Trump wrote.
“Excess labor supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically ‘last in’ during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction,” he continued.
There are notable exceptions to the order, however. It does not affect green card applicants who are already living in the United States. Also, minor children and spouses of U.S. citizens, as well health care workers, foreign investors and individuals who already have approved permanent residency are exempt.
To the chagrin of some immigration hawks, the order also leaves major carve outs for temporary workers, such as those who enter the U.S. to work in agriculture and other essential industries.
Since the coronavirus pandemic has forced state governments across the country to go under lockdown, roughly 22 millions Americans have filed for unemployment — a monumental retraction in the U.S. economy. Because of this, the administration is taking extra measures to ensure citizens are more prioritized for employment. (RELATED: ‘Blatant Xenophobia’: Democrats, Critics Fume Over Trump’s Pending Immigration Ban)
Several other exceptions will be made for those, particularly foreigners whose entry is in the “national interest” of the U.S., as deemed by the federal government.
“In the administration of our Nation’s immigration system, we must be mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor,” Trump wrote.
“We must also conserve critical State Department resources so that consular officers may continue to provide services to United States citizens abroad,” he continued.
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