Trump told reporters Tuesday at the White House that the ban on immigration to the US he announced Monday night would last at least 60 days, upon which time it would be re-evaluated and potentially extended. The president said the executive order would most likely be signed tomorrow and would include certain exemptions, which would be elaborated later Tuesday.
The immigration ban will apply to those seeking Green Cards and not to temporary visitors.
A reporter asked Trump if the ban would place an undocumented person at greater risk of deportation.
"I don't think so," the president replied. "They aren't supposed to be here." However, he noted that migrant workers wouldn't be affected by the ban.
Unlike previous travel bans implemented since the COVID-19 outbreak began in China, Trump indicated that this ban is aimed at protecting US jobs and not at preventing spread of the highly infectious virus.
"We want to protect our US workers, and I think as we move forward, we will become more and more protective of them," Trump said.
"By pausing immigration, we'll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens," Trump said. "So important. It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad."
More than 22 million Americans have become unemployed since lockdowns began more than a month ago, shutting down economic activity across the country. Just minutes before Trump's press conference, US senators approved a $484 billion COVID-19 response bill, the bulk of which provides forgivable loans to employers, so they can keep their workers on payroll.