President Donald Trump announced on Monday night that he plans to temporarily shut down legal immigration as the nation’s economy begins to reopen and recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“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.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that workers who have received visas to perform specialized jobs in the U.S. would also be barred from entering the country, though there may be some exceptions to the ban for workers in critical industries. A formal order banning new green cards and work visas could come within the next few days.

Blocking illegal immigration has always been a tenet of Trump’s agenda, but this would be the largest anti-immigration policy he has created to date.

The announcement sparked outrage from many Democrats, who felt the president is looking for a scapegoat to pin the pandemic on.

“You have nobody to blame but yourself for this completely bungled response to a deadly crisis, Mr. President,” tweeted Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts). “Not immigrants. Not governors or mayors. Just you. Stop scapegoating immigrants with more racism and xenophobia and do your job.”

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minnesota) called the ban “pathetic” as Trump permits some Southern states to reopen businesses.

Reactions to Trump’s decision largely fell along party lines, as Republicans labeled it “common sense.”

“President Trump’s decision to temporarily halt immigration is common sense,” tweeted Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio).

Christian blogger and public speaker Matt Walsh noted the ban would have been more appropriate at the start of the outbreak — Trump initially banned travel from China, but not Europe — but argued the ban will still help curb reinfection.

“My only problem with Trump suspending immigration is that he didn’t do it 2 months ago,” he tweeted. “But anyone complaining that the move is “bigoted” is a very dumb, unserious person, and should be ignored on this issue and every other.”


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