Coronavirus: US green cards to be halted for 60 days, Trump says
President Donald Trump has said he will halt applications of foreign nationals seeking permanent residence in the US because of the coronavirus crisis.
A day after he announced the move in an ambiguous tweet, Mr Trump said the measure would protect American jobs.
It is not clear how effective it will be as most visa services have already been suspended because of the outbreak.
Critics say he is trying to distract attention away from his response to the virus. The US has nearly 45,000 deaths.
Democrats also accuse the administration of using the pandemic to crack down on immigration. The issue has traditionally been a strong campaigning theme for Mr Trump, a Republican, but has taken a back seat during the crisis and in the lead-up to the November election.
At a White House coronavirus briefing, Mr Trump said the executive order with the decision was likely to be signed on Wednesday. The ban could be extended “much longer” depending on how the economy was doing, he said.
After vowing to suspend “all immigration” to the US on Monday night, Mr Trump apparently changed his original plan after a backlash from some business leaders. It would reportedly impact immigrants given temporary working visas, like farm labourers and hi-tech employees.