Chicago immigration advocates critical of President's plan to temporarily halt immigration amid coronavirus pandemic

CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than one million people become legal permanent residents of the United States every year. But it now appears the president may be looking to put a temporary halt to that.

"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!," President Donald Trump tweeted Monday evening.

"COVID-19 is what is taking American jobs, not immigrants," said Erendira Rendon with the Resurrection Project. "Almost all immigration that comes into the U.S. is family based migration, meaning that it is a family member that has petitioned for them to come and be reunited.These are folks that have been vetted. These are folks that have been going through the process. These are folks that have paid their fees."

There is a backlog of over 4 million people waiting to obtain their green cards, and an additional 85,000 who each year obtain H-1B visas reserved for high skilled workers.

"At a time that he is trying to open up the economy, then shutting down people who are essential to the economy. Many of these folks with these kinds of visas are essential folks in the healthcare industry," said Lawrence Benito with ICIRR.

Details of the expected executive order, such as its duration, are currently being hashed out.

Some reports have said that healthcare and other supply chain workers might be exempted from any suspension.

The practical effect this would have is unclear. Since immigration agencies and embassies already stopped processing visas several weeks ago. Trump is expected to issue the executive order as soon as Tuesday evening.
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