Fox News reports President Trump announced late Monday he will soon sign an executive order “to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” in what appeared to be a drastic escalation of his efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic and boost the economy.
The declaration came hours after U.S. equity markets crashed, with oil prices turning negative for the first time in history. Also on Monday, three states — Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina — revealed plans to begin reopening some businesses.
“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!” the president tweeted.
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 J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
The precise contours of the president’s planned executive order were not immediately clear. The White House did not immediately elaborate on Trump’s tweeted announcement.
Due to the pandemic, almost all visa processing by the State Department, including immigrant visas, has been suspended for weeks.
The U.S. recently agreed with both Canada and Mexico to extend border restrictions on nonessential travel for another 30 days, through May 16 and May 19, respectively. And, the president already has blocked most travel from other hotspots, including most of Europe, Iran, South Korea, and China.
However, people with temporary work visas, students and business travelers were exempted, along with emergency personnel.
On Monday, the U.S. government said it will continue to quickly expel migrants it encounters along the border with Mexico for at least another month in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.