President Trump on Tuesday said an immigration ban he announced the previous day on Twitter would consist of a 60-day “pause,” to be instituted on Wednesday and renewed if the administration deemed it necessary.
The pause will affect tens of thousands of people currently in the midst of the immigration process, but will apply specifically to applicants for permanent residencies, and not to workers applying for temporary residencies. Around 85,000 workers on H-1B visas, which allow recipients to work in the U.S. for up to three years, are exempt from the president’s executive order.
Essential workers such as health care personnel will also be able to obtain visas. Immigrants make up 17 percent of healthcare workers in the U.S., including 28 percent of high-skilled professionals.
However, Trump said the decision to limit some immigration would help the American economy to recover from the shocks of the coronavirus pandemic. Business closures instituted to mitigate spread of coronavirus have caused 22 million Americans to file for unemployment in the past several weeks.
“We must first take care of the American worker,” Trump said at his daily White House coronavirus press briefing.
“President Trump is committed to protecting the health and economic well-being of American citizens as we face unprecedented times,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Monday. “As President Trump has said, ‘Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers.’ At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary.”