WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) – President Donald Trump plans on issuing an executive order halting immigration for at least 60 days.
While his supporters say it’s a common sense plan to keep Americans safe, Democrats say the president is using the virus to push an anti-immigrant agenda.
Trump says it’s to protect Americans from coronavirus and from losing jobs.
“You want to know who’s coming in and who’s coming out. So it’s an action more for the safety of the country than anything else,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, R-California, said.
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy says as the economy gradually reopens, new hot spots may emerge.
He says the president’s temporary order is necessary until the country has a better grasp on coronavirus testing.
“We got to get our economy opened back up. From that basis, we have to understand what’s happening at our border,” McCarthy said.
President Trump said Tuesday evening the ban won’t apply to immigrants with temporary visas.
But Democrats say an immigration ban goes against the president’s goal of reopening the economy, and they say it fits an anti-immigrant pattern within this White House.
“It’s just a slap in the face to immigrants,” Representative Judy Chu, D-California, said.
Congresswoman Judy Chu says international travel is already restricted. She says there’s no real policy change, the president’s tweet is purely political.
“This is clearly just meant to stir his own base, stoke more anger and xenophobia and change the conversation away from his own failing,” Chu said.
Judy Chu says immigrants make up 28-percent of doctors and surgeons and six million immigrants are considered essential workers.
“So they are such a huge part of our front line workers putting their lives on the line,” Chu said.
We reached out to Homeland Security for comment but the agency didn’t respond.