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Trump to suspend issuing green cards for 2 months

Washington: President Trump on Tuesday announced details of his executive order to suspend immigration amid the coronavirus pandemic, saying the measure would initially last for 60 days and apply to those seeking permanent residence, reports The Hill.

He indicated during a White House briefing that there would be certain exemptions but did not elaborate. “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” Trump said at the briefing. “We must first take care of the American worker.”

The text of the order was still being written, Trump said Tuesday night, but he expected to sign it on Wednesday.

Trump said farmers will not be affected by the order, appearing to confirm that visas for agricultural workers would fall outside the scope of the measure.

The most common type of green card applications are family-based immigration sponsorships for permanent residency of foreign nationals by their U.S. spouses.

Foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States were already unable to do so amid the pandemic, as consulates been closed for most visa interviews since last month.

Trump did not specify whether the suspension would apply equally to would-be permanent immigrants already in the country or only to those seeking first entry into the United States.

Experts say Trump has broad authority on immigration after the Supreme Court upheld a version of his travel ban in 2018, but expect lawsuits challenging his suspension of immigration.

Democrats have excoriated Trump for the order, arguing he is using it to divert attention from criticism of his handling of the pandemic.

Trump said his administration will review the order after 60 days and extend it or modify it depending on economic conditions. He did not lay out criteria for what would warrant lifting the order.

Most economic experts and elected officials expect an economic recovery will take months to fully take hold, raising the likelihood that the immigration suspension will extend through much of the year.

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