President Donald Trump said Tuesday that a new and global ban on immigration to the United States will last at least 60 days, as part of his administration’s effort to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.
Yet the controversial move appeared to have more to do with Trump’s protectionist economic policies in an election year than any ongoing public health advantage, given that the U.S. already has the highest total of COVID-19 cases in the world and they’re spreading because of community transmission and not immigrants at the borders.
“By pausing immigration we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens,” said Trump during an evening briefing on the coronavirus. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad.”
Trump said the new policy will be reevaluated at the end of 60 days to see if any modification or extension is needed, based on economic conditions at the time.
The ban does not target those seeking temporary entry, but only those who wish to become permanent “green card” residents.
“We want to protect our U.S. workers and I think as we move forward, we will become more and more protective of them,” Trump added.
At least 22 million people have applied for unemployment benefits in the United States since the pandemic and COVID-related economic shutdown began. The U.S. now has 823, 786 confirmed cases of the virus, according to a real-time dashboard maintained by Johns Hopkins University. More than 45,000 people have died.
Image: White House