BOSTON (CBS) – President Trump says he will sign an executive order suspending all immigration amid the coronavirus crisis. The claim came in the form of a late night tweet from the president on Monday.
“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!” he tweeted.READ MORE: Rally Calls For Asian Studies To Be Added To School Curriculum In Massachusetts
The details are unclear but the order is expected to temporarily stop the issuance of new green cards and visas, both activities that already stalled due to the pandemic.
There may be exemptions for farm workers and healthcare providers.
“This is what the President has been about from day one of this crisis is how do we protect the health of the American people and how do we protect the American economy,” White House National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien told reporters on Tuesday.READ MORE: Dorchester Grandmother Killed By Stray Bullet While Sitting On Porch Identified As Delois Brown
Massachusetts Immigration Attorney Susan Church calls the tweet a distraction and argues the executive order could actually hurt the economy.
“Our schools depend on foreign students. Again, our health care system depends on it. Over half of businesses, successful Fortune 500 businesses were started by immigrants,” Church said.
Despite hopes for some exemptions, Mahsa Khanbabai, the New England Chair of American Immigrations Lawyers Association, worries that the order could hurt health care workers on the frontlines.MORE NEWS: Water Conservation Urged In Massachusetts Amid Dry Spell
“Massachusetts has a tremendous system of community health centers. These organizations provide desperately needed medical services to vulnerable populations, be it in Fall River, to Chelsea, to Brockton, and they often rely on immigrant health care workers,” Khanbabai said.