United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he would sign an executive order to suspend immigration into his country because of the “invisible enemy”, a term he uses to refer to the coronavirus. The announcement comes at a time when the US economy has come to a near standstill because of the pandemic, with more than 22 million people applying for unemployment benefits in the last month.
“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.
However, he did not offer any details as to what immigration programmes might be affected by the order. The White House also did not immediately elaborate on the tweet.
Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system.
The number of visas issued to foreigners abroad looking to immigrate to the United States has declined by about 25%, to 4,62,422 in the 2019 fiscal year from 6,17,752 in 2016.
Last month, the Trump administration had suspended all routine visa services in light of the coronavirus pandemic. However, while he has talked about suspending immigration visa, the H-1B visa, which is more popular among Indian IT professionals employed in the US, is a non-immigrant visa.
US is the worst-hit country by the coronavirus outbreak and has the world’s largest number of cases, with 7,87,752 cases and 42,359 deaths as of Tuesday, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The worldwide toll from the coronavirus pandemic crossed 1.7 lakh and more than 24.75 lakh declared cases have been found in 185 countries and territories.