President Trump says his upcoming executive order to pause most legal immigration to the United States will ensure that the roughly 22 million unemployed Americans will be “first in line” for jobs when the nation reopens in the midst of the coronavirus crisis.
During his daily press briefing on Tuesday, Trump outlined some specifics of his executive order pausing most legal immigration to the U.S. — a plan that will include a moratorium on issuing green cards to foreign nationals for at least 60 days.
Trump said the decision is one based on morals and fairness for American workers:
So the noble fight against the invisible enemy has inflicted a steep toll on the American workforce as we all know, millions of Americans have sacrificed their jobs in order to battle the virus and save the lives of our fellow citizens. We have a solemn duty to ensure these unemployed Americans regain their jobs and their livelihoods, therefore, in order to protect American workers, I will be issuing a temporary suspension of immigration into the United States. [Emphasis added]
By pausing immigration, we’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens. So important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad. We must first take care of the American worker — the American worker. This pause will be in effect for 60 days after which, the need for an extension or modification will be evaluated by myself and a group of people based on economic conditions at the time. This order will only apply to individuals seeking a permanent residency, in other words, those receiving green cards. It will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis. [Emphasis added]
Trump said his pause on immigration will also prevent newly arrived immigrants from draining hospital and medical resources that are needed for America’s working and middle class during the time of crisis.
“This pause on new immigration will also help conserve new vital resources for American citizens,” Trump said. “A short break from new immigration … will protect the solvency of our healthcare system and provide relief to jobless Americans.”
The pause on immigration will be re-examined, Trump said, after 60 days, based on the unemployment levels of American citizens. The immigration pause, Trump said, will be released likely sometime on Wednesday and will not stop H-2A and H-2B foreign workers from being fast-tracked into the U.S. to take agricultural and nonagricultural jobs.
For weeks, Breitbart News has chronicled the historical precedent for an immigration moratorium during times of national crisis. During the Great Depression, for instance, mass unemployment was eased by major cuts to legal immigration levels that stayed below 100,000 annual admissions for nearly 15 years from 1931 and 1945.
Trump’s authority over immigration, like all other presidents, is vast and broad.
In June 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed the president’s control over legal immigration. In Trump v. Hawaii, the court stated that presidents have extraordinarily broad discretion to admit or exclude foreign nationals from the U.S. when they believe doing so is in the national interest.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.