WASHINGTON: After US President Donald Trump announced that he was shutting the country to legal immigration temporarily through an executive order. The “pause” he referred to would be in effect for 60 days, he clarified, after which the need for an extension or alternation would be reviewed “based on economic conditions at the time”. Under questioning, he confirmed that he might then decide to add a further 30 days or more.
"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 Trump tweeted on Monday night.
Citing reasons for this temporary ban, Trump said that, "By pausing immigration, we will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America re-opens." This pause on new immigration will also help to conserve medical resources for our citizens as we fight this virus.
About a million people were granted green cards last year. The announcement also drew a swift rebuke from Democrat Senator Kamala Harris, who accused him of "shamelessly politicising this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda" having failed to take the COVID-19 crisis seriously. "The American people are fed up," Harris, who is of Indian and Jamaican descent, tweeted.
This has been seen as an attempt by Trump to appeal to 22 million people who have lost their jobs so far due the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US diplomatic missions in several countries have stopped holding immigrant visa interviews. Trump has already banned non-citizens, who are not already permanent residents (or green card-holders) from 28 European countries, China and Iran from travelling to the US and air connections from several countries are not operating making it difficult for immigrant visa-holders from many others to come in.( With inputs from agencies)