00:15 GMT20 October 2020
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    US President Donald Trump told reporters Wednesday evening that he had signed a previously announced executive order that will suspend the entry of immigrants for at least a 60-day period.

    Citing a need to "protect our great American workers," the US president explained during the White House Coronavirus Task Force briefing that immigration will be suspended in the US to "ensure that unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs" when COVID-19 novel coronavirus-related restrictions ease up across the country. 

    The Office of the Press Secretary concurrently released a proclamation from Trump on the temporary ban, which characterizes those blocked from the country as "a risk to the United States labor market during the economic recovery following the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak." 

    Trump's emphasis on job security for "Americans of all backgrounds" is reiterated in the order, which notes that "historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree" and individuals who are disabled have been disproportionately impacted as the "first in" during the economy's expansion and "first out" in times of  economic contraction. 

    A number of immigrants will not be required to adhere to the suspension, including immigrants married to a US citizen, those applying to for a visa through the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program and immigrants seeking to enter the country on a physician, nurse or similar health care professional-related visa. 

    The suspension of entry for immigrants accused of being "detrimental to the interests of the United States" will last for a period of 60 days. However, the administration reserves the right to continue the proclamation following consultation with Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia "no later than 50 days from" the effective date: 11:59 p.m. local time on April 23. 

    Additionally, the trio of secretaries will be called to regroup with Trump within 30 days of the suspension's launch to review non-immigrant programs and recommend additional measures - if necessary. 

    Protests against restrictions imposed to slow the novel coronavirus' spread have taken place sporadically across the country, despite the US' generous lead over other countries in confirmed COVID-19 cases, with 837,947 infections identified and 46,497 deaths associated with contagious disease, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University's novel coronavirus dashboard. Approximately 4,466,559 tests have been conducted nationwide, and 77,340 recoveries from COVID-19 have been logged. 

    While many fewer cases have been identified by Italy, Spain and France, the three European countries have each reported about half as many deaths as the US, with respective death tolls totaling 25,085, 21,717 and 21,340. 

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    Tags:
    Immigration, coronavirus, COVID-19, Donald Trump
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