President Donald Trump announced his plan to sign an executive order temporarily halting immigration into the United States, due at least partly to the coronavirus.
The president, in a tweet, also alluded to the move as a way to protect American jobs but did not provide any other details, and the White House offered no further explanation.
Effects of the order remain unclear
It is uncertain what impact the order will have on crossing operations at the U.S.-Mexico border or what programs could be impacted. It’s also unclear how effective it will be as immigration to the U.S. is already mostly stopped during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Both the Canadian and Mexican borders are only open for what is described as “essential travel.” At the same time, refugee resettlement has already been suspended, and many visa offices remain closed, meaning immigrants can’t legally enter the U.S. anyway.
Immigration advocates push back
The National Immigration Forum says Trump’s decision has nothing to do with policy or protecting jobs but is another attempt by the president to turn people against each other and blame immigrants, despite their valuable contributions to the economic recovery.
The announcement comes as Trump and other administration officials suggest that the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, and the president is urging states to reopen their economies.
Numbers don‘t back up Trump‘s claims
Coronavirus deaths and cases in the U.S. continue to rise while the president works to seal off the nation’s borders. As of April 21, the U.S. had nearly 788,000 cases and more than 42,000 deaths, making it the hardest-hit country by far.
New York State comes in second, surpassing other nations, with 250,000 cases reported. Spain is next with just more than 204,000 reported cases.