Covid-19: Trump plans to suspend immigration to protect American jobs

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with people that have recovered from COVID-19, in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Tuesday, April 14, 2020, in Washington. Photo: AP/PTI
Days after the US government allowed applicants for H-1B visas to continue in the country, President Donald Trump on Tuesday announced a temporary suspension of immigration into the country.

“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!,” the US President wrote in a Twitter post.

Details of Trump's executive order were not immediately known. He also did not indicate when he will sign such an order. While Trump talked about suspending immigration visa, the H-1B visa, which is more popular among Indian IT professionals, is a non-immigrant visa. But his reasoning that he needs to protect jobs of American citizens indicates that non-immigrant work visas too might be on his target.

"NASSCOM seeks details on the Executive Order of the President of the United States suspending immigration temporarily," India’s IT services industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies tweeted later in the day in response to President Trump’s tweet.

The United States, due to coronavirus, has experienced a record layoff. As off last week, a record number of 22 million Americans have applied for unemployment benefits.

The move comes against the backdrop of an unprecedented economic crisis looming on account of the coronavirus pandemic, which has taken a heavy toll on the US. The country has been the most affected globally, both in terms of number of confirmed Covid-19 cases and death toll. As of Tuesday morning in India, the country’s total cases stood at 792,759, and death toll at 42,514.

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 J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
The total number of lives lost in the US is almost as much as the next two most affected countries — Spain and Italy — combined. In terms of cases, the US number is more than those of the next four put together.

Trump has already closed the Northern and Southern border that attracts a large number of illegal immigrants.

On April 14, the US had allowed applicants for H-1B visas to continue in the country, helping thousands of Indian professionals stranded due to the coronavirus pandemic. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant document that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China.

Indians are the biggest beneficiaries of the H-1B visa programme, according to the US Citizen and Immigration Services.


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