President Donald Trump is due to sign an executive order and temporarily suspend all immigration to the US, blaming the coronavirus as the reason.
ON Twitter, he cited “the attack from the invisible enemy”, as he calls the virus, and the need to protect the jobs of Americans, but did not give details. It is not clear what programmes might be affected and whether it was even possible that the president would be able to carry out the order.
Mr Trump’s announcement late on Monday comes as the White House argues the worst of the pandemic is over and the country can begin reopening. The restrictions on people’s movement, implemented by many states to curb the spread of the virus, have paralysed parts of the economy.
Over the last four weeks, more than 20 million Americans have made jobless claims. That amounts to roughly as many jobs as employers had added over the previous decade.
The US has over 787,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and more than 42,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic globally.