President Donald Trump’s order to temporarily reduce immigration to the United States drew protests from advocates in New York and state Attorney General Letitia James.
Trump’s order, altered from when he first proposed it, would halt the issuance of green cards for 60 days.
The move will not affect those in the U.S. who have temporary visas, but is designed to prevent competition for jobs during an economic downturn.
FWD.us, an immigration advocacy group, said the two-month moratorium will have a negative affect on the economy.
“This policy will do long-term damage to our economic stability, recovery, and growth, particularly as the U.S. economy attempts to rebuild from the devastation of the COVID-19 crisis - and it will cruelly separate thousands of families, keeping loved ones apart for absolutely no reason,” said the group’s president Todd Schulte. “Suspending immigration will inflict serious harm on U.S. companies, all workers, and the American economy as a whole by blocking immigrant entrepreneurs and job creators, hurting tax revenues, and driving down our national GDP.”
Attorney General Letitia James, meanwhile, raised the possibility of a legal challenge to the order.
“This proclamation is antithetical to everything we believe as Americans and only uses immigrants as scapegoats. Immigrants are on the front lines of the fight to battle the coronavirus, and are providing the essential services that are keeping our nation and our economy moving forward,” she said. “Immigrants provide us with health care, care for our elderly, prepare and deliver our food, clean our hospitals and public spaces, and take on so many other essential roles in our society.”
Millions of people have either been furloughed or lost their jobs over the last several weeks amid the pandemic and a shutdown of the economy to prevent its spread.
New York alone has disbursed billions of dollars in unemployment benefits to people filing jobless claims.