President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to temporarily withhold the approval of some green cards
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to temporarily withhold the approval of some green cards. The order, which embodies a number of exemptions, is to last for two months and then could be reviewed for extension.
According to the president, the policy was designed with the interest of the American worker at heart. It is to protect American workers’ jobs in an economy being battered by the coronavirus. However, critics have accused him of using the pandemic as a cover up to push through long-sought hard line immigration policies ahead of the elections to be held in November. In a coronavirus briefing at the White House, he said “This will ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens,”
The greencard gives immigrants legal permanent residence and the opportunity to apply for American citizenship. In a typical year, close to one million green cards are issued in the United States. The majority , roughly 70% go to those with family members living in the US, according to a 2018 report from the US Senate. For employment-based green cards, a common form of the residency status, roughly 80% are issued to those already in the country, shifting from a temporary visa to permanent residence.
The hundreds of thousands of temporary work visas issued by the US each year will not be affected by the 60-day pause. Also not to be affected by the hold of issuance of the green card are the spouses and young children of American citizens, green card applicants currently already in the US, and those seeking entry to work as doctors, nurses or other healthcare professionals.
However,the measure is expected to curtail the practice of green card holders sponsoring their extended families, which the president refers to as chain migration. The president’s order is definitely expected to face legal challenges.
At the beginning of the week, the president vowed to put a hold on “all immigration” to the United States in a tweet. The announcement was met with immediate backlash, some coming from business leaders, as a result of fears that it could limit temporary working visas for people like farm laborers and hi-tech employees.
The final order has been heavily watered down, meaning the 60-day hold applies only to permanent residents, not temporary workers.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, more than 20 million Americans have lost their jobs and the president has said the government had a “solemn duty” to ensure they regain work. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” he stated.
Being a Republican, Donald Trump came into office partly because of his hard line stance on immigration and has since then made the issue central to his presidency. Quiet a number of Americans suspect that he is playing to his support base with one eye on November’s election, when he is expected to face off against former Vice-President Joe Biden, a Democrat. Others have also accused the president of trying to distract attention from his poor response to the coronavirus. The US has recorded more than 46,000 deaths and 840,000 infections, the most in the world.