U.S. President Donald J. Trump said late Monday, April 20, that he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States.
The decision was made in light of the Covid-19 pandemic and “the need to protect the jobs” of Americans, Trump tweeted.
It was not immediately clear when the suspension would go into effect or how long it would last, but the order would likely trigger political and legal pushback.
The order would mark an extraordinary use of executive power by Trump, who has imposed travel restrictions on a group of nations and regions — measures that have led to chaos both abroad and at U.S. airports.
During his presidency, Trump has maintained a hardline stance on immigration and border security, and pushed for a series of controversial measures, including erecting a border wall along the nation’s southern border with Mexico in a bid to deter illegal immigrants.
Earlier on Monday, Mexican Foreign Relations Secretary Marcelo Ebrard announced that Mexico and the United States had agreed to extend the ban on nonessential travel across their shared border in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The temporary ban, which took effect in March and was due to expire Tuesday, April 21, will remain in place for 30 more days after authorities from both countries reviewed the state of the outbreaks, Ebrard said in a tweet.
“The restrictions will continue under the same terms as when they were implemented on March 21,” the Twitter posting said.
The restrictions apply to foot and vehicle traffic at border crossing points along north Mexico and the southern United States, barring travel for tourism or leisure, but allowing travel for medical reasons or work in essential fields.
Cross-border trade has not been affected by the measure.
As of Sunday, April 19, Mexico had reported 8,261 cases of confirmed Covid-19 infections and 686 deaths from the virus, while, according to an April 20 tally by Johns Hopkins University, the number of coronavirus cases in the United States had neared 787,000, with more than 42,000 deaths.
…April 21, 2020