On Monday, US President Donald Trump announced that he would place a temporary ban on immigration, due to the "invisible enemy" [novel coronavirus] and protect American jobs, lost due to the pandemic.
He announced further details in his daily White House Press briefing on Tuesday.
Trump's new immigration ban
"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!," Trump tweeted on Monday.
Providing further details, Trump said on Tuesday: "In order to protect American workers, I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States" as "it will help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens."
"It would be wrong and unjust for Americans, laid off due to the virus, to be replaced with immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first protect the American workers."
The new immigration ban will be "in place for 60 days after which the need for any extension or modification will be evaluated" and decision would be taken "based on economic condition at that time".
The ban will only apply to those seeking green cards, i.e. permanent residency in the United States and "will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis".
He said "additional immigration-related measures" could be taken to protect American workers, who have lost their jobs due to the economic crisis because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The immigration ban will "also help to conserve vital medical resources for American citizens", according to Trump.
Although Trump announced the ban on issuance of green cards, there will be some exceptions: essential workers including those in health care will be able to receive green cards, as well as those who come to the US through an immediate family member, according to Politico.
Trump will sign the executive order on Wednesday (April 22).
Loss of jobs in America due to coronavirus
To curb the spread of the deadly contagion, widespread restrictions and a lockdown were put in place, grinding economic activity to a halt. Since mid-March, the number of Americans who filed for unemployment has surged to 22 million.
How did industries react to the new immigration ban?
Microsoft President Brad Smith took to Twitter to defend immigration and throw light on the role played by immigrants with respect to the American economy.
"We ... recognise the profound toll the pandemic has had on American workers; however, the United States will not benefit from shutting down legal immigration", Information Technology Industry [ITI] Council president and CEO Jason Oxman said in a statement. "Tech workers – whether from the United States or another country – are playing an essential role in America's response to Covid-19. They will be vital to the US economic recovery and must remain part of the workforce," the statement added.