Trump says he is suspending immigration over coronavirus, need to protect jobs

The president partly attributed the suspension, which he said he will enact by executive order, to an "attack from the Invisible Enemy."
US Customs officers speak with people in a car beside a sign saying that the US border is closed at the US/Canada border in Lansdowne, Ontario, on March 22, 2020.Lars Hagberg / AFP - Getty Images file
By Tim Stelloh, Kristen Welker, Shannon Pettypiece and Geoff Bennett

President Donald Trump said Monday that he is temporarily suspending immigration to the United States in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the "need to protect jobs."

In a tweet Monday night, the president attributed the suspension to an "attack from the Invisible Enemy" and the "need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens."

He added that he would sign an executive order temporarily suspending immigration.

Trump previously barred travel from China and Europe to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

It's not clear from the president's tweet whether the order would bar non-U.S. citizens from traveling to the country for purposes such as business or to visit family.

White House officials offered few details Monday night clarifying Trump’s tweet.

The move “had been under consideration for a while,” a senior administration official told NBC News. The official said that although Trump believes the U.S. is winning the fight against the coronavirus, he also thinks it is important to make every effort to get ahead and protect the borders to prevent further spread.

The official said that details about how the plan would be implemented and how many countries would be impacted “will be forthcoming.”

The executive order could be signed as early as this week, according to the administration official, who did not offer any details about whether it had been drafted or where the process stands.

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