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21st Apr 2020

Donald Trump says he’ll suspend all immigration to the US due to COVID-19

Alan Loughnane

The move would be a far-reaching use of executive power from the president

American president Donald Trump has said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend all immigration to the United States because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

On Twitter, Trump called the virus the “invisible enemy” and said he would be using his executive powers to halt immigration but did not go into any specifics, such as the scope or time frame of the suspension.

He tweeted: “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 said the move would save American jobs – 20 million Americans have made jobless claims in the last four weeks – and Trump has stated previously during the pandemic that he would like to see the US manufacture certain products on home soil.

Trump has already imposed broad travel bans on the likes of China, Europe, Canada and Mexico to try and deal with the pandemic.

Last month, the US suspended almost all visa processing due to the pandemic.

The move has been criticised by Democrats, who accused the president of attempting to distract from his failings in dealing with the COVID-19 outbreak by changing focus to immigration.

Don Beyer, a Congressman from Virginia, tweeted: “From the beginning Trump has flailed about seeking someone to blame for his own failure. Obama. Governors. China. Speaker Pelosi.

“People of Asian descent. Immigration has nearly stopped and the US has far more cases than any other country. This is just xenophobic scapegoating.”

The White House has argued the worst of the outbreak has passed and is encouraging states to reopen for business, with Trump himself appearing to lend support to those protesting against governor’s stay at home orders.

The US currently has over 787,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 42,000 deaths according to figures from Johns Hopkins University.