Just like his original travel ban a week into his presidency and his Europe ban last month, Donald Trump’s tweet Monday night saying he would “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” left immigrants, advocates, reporters, attorneys and even government officials scrambling to figure out what exactly he meant.
The executive order he referenced is reportedly still being drafted, but Trump said in a press conference Tuesday night that it would suspend all immigrant visas for an extendable period of 60 days. Earlier reports stipulated that various classes of work visas would be included, or excluded; fundamentally we won’t know what he’s talking about until we see the text.
What we do know is that the effort is the culmination of a years-long project by White House adviser Stephen Miller to mission-creep the administration’s restrictionist policymaking from one ostensibly focused narrowly on national security to a diffuse economic argument. In addition to fighting the pandemic, Trump’s tweet listed the “need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” as a reason for signing the order, something he stressed again at his coronavirus briefing Tuesday evening.