“In light of the attack on the invisible enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American citizens, I will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States!” he tweeted.
Officials were still working on the decree, according to an administration official, but hope it will be completed in the next few days for Trump to sign. While the wording is still being finalized, the order is expected to temporarily suspend the issuance of new green cards and new work visas – measures that had already been effectively implemented in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
A second administration official told CNN that the decree would be a “temporary suspension of 120 days” for “certain” work visas to alleviate some of the unemployment problems associated with the pandemic.
Other aspects of the order remain unclear within the administration, including the legal authorities on which the President will rely in the order and what other elements of immigration – including family immigration and potential exemptions – could be included.
The order should include certain exemptions for agricultural workers and health care providers, the official said, but could also exempt certain other workers deemed “essential”.
Authorities also suspect the extension of travel restrictions beyond the current bans in force in China and Europe, said the official.
The effect the order will have on the operation of US border crossings and on those who already hold green cards is unclear.
In the context of the pandemic, the Trump administration has attempted to move forward with some of its most restrictive policies that it had struggled to implement before the spread of the coronavirus, including blocking the entry of asylum seekers.
The White House declined to provide further information on the executive decree on Monday evening. The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Immigrant supporters immediately rejected the tweet.
Trump has repeatedly praised his decision to stop travel from China and Europe as a way to limit the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
Citing “unfiltered” and “uncontrolled” people entering the United States across the southern border, Trump said late last month that the border would be closed “primarily, and even beyond, but most of all during this global pandemic. ” Restrictions on non-essential travel remain in effect and on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that it would be extended with Mexico and Canada.
The administration has also put in place an order authorizing the United States to promptly deport migrants arrested at the border, including children.
This story has been updated with additional immigration reports.