On Twitter, he cited “the attack from the invisible enemy”, as he calls the virus, and the need to protect the jobs of Americans, but did not give details. It was not clear what programmes might be affected and whether the president would be able to carry out the order. Critics say the government is using the pandemic to crack down on immigration.
Mr Trump’s announcement late on Monday comes as the White House argues the worst of the pandemic is over and the country can begin reopening. The restrictions on people’s movement, implemented by many states to curb the spread of the virus, have paralysed parts of the economy.
Over the last four weeks, more than 20 million Americans have made jobless claims. That amounts to roughly as many jobs as employers had added over the previous decade. The US has over 787,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 42,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic globally.
It is no secret that the president, and several key advisors, have long viewed immigration not as a benefit to the nation, but as a drain. And the text of his tweet, that the move is necessary not only to protect the nation’s health but also “the jobs of its great American citizens”, only emphasizes this. There is little doubt the proposal, in whatever form it takes, will be vigorously opposed by pro-immigration groups, some business interests and the president’s ideological adversaries. That is probably just fine with a man who loves drawing political battle lines and goading his opponents whenever possible.
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