WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would announce new restrictions on visas within a couple of days to block the entry of certain foreign workers and protect Americans struggling with a job market devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re going to be announcing something tomorrow or the next day on the visas,” he told Fox News Channel.
Asked if there would be exclusions from the new restrictions, Trump said very few.
“You need them for big businesses where they have certain people that have been coming in for a long time, but very little exclusion and they’re pretty tight,” he said. “And we may even go very tight for a period of time.”
Trump, who has been expected to announce new restrictions, declined to provide further details.
Critics have said Trump looked set to use the pandemic to achieve his longstanding goal of limiting immigration into the United States. His tough stance on immigration is central to his pitch to voters as he runs for re-election.
Major American companies, particularly in the tech sector, have urged Trump to refrain from blocking the flow of foreign workers into the United States, saying it would hurt the economy.
The new action would be Trump’s latest step to restrict immigration in response to the pandemic and economic fallout.
In April, he ordered a temporary block on some foreigners from permanent residence in the United States.
He also announced new health-focused rules in March that allow for the rapid deportation of immigrants caught at the border and virtually cut off access to the U.S. asylum system.
At the same time, he announced the land borders with Canada and Mexico would be closed to non-essential crossings, a measure that has been extended several times.
(Reporting by Tim Ahmann and Ted Hesson; Editing by Daniel Wallis)