First came the big announcement: President Donald Trump declared via Twitter that he would suspend immigration to the United States.
Now comes the considerable fine print.
It appears the order will spare vast categories of temporary visa-holders, based on the initial details described by the president on Tuesday.
In fact, some of Trump’s supporters complain it doesn’t actually do much.
Trump said he will sign an order, either Wednesday or Thursday, that will, for at least 60 days and possibly longer, pause processing of immigration applications.
It creates additional uncertainty for a few thousand Canadians awaiting permanent resident status in the U.S. Last year, 17,821 Canadians gained that status — most of whom already lived in the U.S. under a non-immigration work visa.
“We’ll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens. So important,” Trump told a news conference Tuesday.
“We must first take care of the American worker.”
Work visas: untouched
But the announcement doesn’t actually apply to work visas. Huge numbers of Canadians and other foreigners live in the U.S. as non-immigrants, under visas tied to their jobs.
Canadians made more than one million trips to the U.S. in 2018 under such visas linked to their employment, or to a family member’s employment. Some of these visa-holders include Canadians fighting the pandemic in U.S. hospitals.
Trump said he’ll decide after 60 days whether to extend the order.