Mr. Trump said this week he would impose a more sweeping order, saying he intended to close the United States to people trying to immigrate to the country to live and work. But under intense pressure from business groups, he backed off barring guest workers for technology companies, farms as well as other employers. Still, some business groups said they were frustrated by the move.
“Given the unprecedented economic turmoil caused by the Covid-19 health crisis, it is especially important now to welcome the world’s top innovators and job creators, not send them home,” said John Neuffer, the chief of the Semiconductor Industry Association, a trade group.
More than one million immigrants were granted green cards in the 2019 fiscal year, and about half of them — 458,556 — were overseas. Many of those visas went to the spouses and children of citizens.
Mr. Trump’s initial announcement, issued on Twitter late Monday night, that he intended to “suspend immigration” surprised many of his top officials in the Homeland Security and Defense Departments. The administration had already used authorities granted to Mr. Trump’s top health officials to effectively seal the southern border, and halt refugee flights and naturalization ceremonies. The State Department had suspended visa services last month at U.S. embassies and consulates, but immigrants were still able to take procedural steps to come to the United States.
Hours before Mr. Trump signed the order, Kellyanne Conway, his top adviser, said lawyers were still completing the policy. The executive order seemed to acknowledge there might be issues with the ban’s enactment, noting that if any provisions were “held to be invalid because of the lack of certain procedural requirements,” the relevant agency should subsequently fulfill those requirements.
Mr. Trump has said that he may extend the policy after 60 days “based on economic conditions at the time.”
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, the president and chief of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, said that “economically speaking, the thinking behind this order plays into the patently flawed idea that American prosperity is a zero-sum game.”