Washington – US President Donald Trump announced Tuesday that he is suspending the issuance of permanent residence permits for immigrants, known as the “green card,” as a result of the unprecedented job destruction caused by the COVID-19 crisis.
Despite the fact that Trump assured on Monday that he intended to pause all migration, the measure approved by the Government, which will have an initial duration of 60 days, excludes temporary special visas, such as agricultural or technological specialists, from the suspension.
“By pausing immigration, we will help unemployed Americans be the first to look for jobs as the United States reopens. It would be wrong and unfair for fired Americans to be replaced by immigrants from abroad,” Trump said at the daily news conference of the COVID-19 White House working group.
“We have the solemn duty to ensure that these unemployed Americans recover their jobs and livelihoods,” he added.
Confinement measures against the coronavirus have destroyed 22 million jobs across the country in a four-week period, according to Labor Department data, a figure unprecedented in previous crises.
The president detailed in the press conference that the suspension will become effective after the signing of an executive order this week that will contain some exceptions. He also said that the extension of the order will depend on “economic conditions”.
The exceptions, according to local media, will allow foreign relatives of US citizens to continue receiving their “green cards”.
Every year the US Government It issues more than a million permanent residence permits for foreign citizens, including some 50,000 by lottery through a diversity program that Trump has had in mind since he came to power.
Since the start of the pandemic, the Trump White House has closed land borders with Canada and Mexico, while international air traffic has been suspended, and consulates and embassies have limited their visa services.
Furthermore, the USA has suspended immigration laws and immediately deported to Mexico all asylum seekers and undocumented immigrants who cross its border, which is why the government has been using the pandemic for weeks to tighten its immigration policy.