US green card suspension to last 60 days, Trump says

The new order will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis

The US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday he was suspending immigration for green card seekers for 60 days, arguing the controversial move would help Americans find work again after coronavirus caused a surge in unemployment.

"By pausing immigration, it will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens," Trump said at his daily pandemic briefing. "This pause will be in effect for 60 days," he told reporters, adding that he would decide on any extension or changes "based on economic conditions at the time."

The Republican president said the order would "only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency, in other words, those receiving green cards." "It will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis," he added.

The US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) granted lawful permanent residence to around 577,000 individuals in 2019.

Trump said there would be exemptions that his administration would detail before the order is signed. According to US officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Wall Street Journal before Trump spoke, the eventual executive order could include exceptions for farm and health care workers.

The US government issued 462,000 visas in fiscal 2019, according to official data, a major drop from the 617,000 visas granted in 2016 under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama.

Any executive order on immigration will likely spark court action to reverse it, and has already raised hackles among Trump's Democratic opponents, news wires reported. The Supreme Court has in recent months offered several significant victories to the Trump administration in cases relating to immigration.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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