Trump’s order on immigration will have limited impact, observers

Trump suspends immigration into US during coronavirus pandemic, but impact will be potentially limited, observers noted. President Donald Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday to halt some immigrants from entering the US, though his action contained a wide series of exceptions for workers in agriculture, health care, public safety and other industries.

"This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens," Trump said during his daily briefing on Wednesday. "It will also preserve our health care resources for American patients."  The president said he would re-evaluate the halt after 60 days – and noted that he could alter it any time before that – and stressed that the new rules do no apply to some workers.

The order would exempt immigrants who are physicians and nurses. It would exempt spouses of US citizens, immigrants under 21 and prospective adoptees, though it appeared to block other relatives of citizens from entering. Trump has previously said the order is aimed at temporarily halting the award of new green cards.

The order specifically blocks immigrants from entering the country if they do not have an immigrant visa or other travel document. But since the pandemic struck, the Trump administration has all but paralyzed immigration by restricting travel into the US, stopping most visa processing, and speeding up the return of undocumented workers to their home countries.

Charanya Krishnaswami, advocacy director for the Americas with Amnesty International USA, said Trump's actions have more to do with keeping people of color out of the United States than with coronavirus.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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