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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump signed an executive order on Wednesday banning some legal immigration for 60 days due to the novel coronavirus, beginning Thursday at 11:59 p.m. EST.

What's happening: The order will prevent foreigners from obtaining green cards to enter the country if they are outside the U.S. and do not already have valid visas or other travel documents — although there are exceptions.

What he's saying: "In order to protect our great American workers, I've just signed an executive order temporarily suspending immigration into the United States," Trump said during a press briefing on Wednesday. "This will ensure unemployed Americans of all backgrounds will be first in line for jobs as our economy reopens."

The order will not apply to:

  1. Immigrants applying for temporary visas.
  2. Legal permanent residents already in the U.S.
  3. Certain health care workers and health care researchers working to combat COVID-19, as well as their spouses and children.
  4. Applicants for the EB-5 investor visa.
  5. Spouses and children of citizens.
  6. Adoptees.
  7. Immigrants who are determined to be important for law enforcement objectives or for other reasons considered to be in the national interest.
  8. Members of the armed forces and their spouses and children.
  9. Special Immigrant visa applicants.

Between the lines: The order is yet another attempt by the Trump administration to drastically lower the number of people coming into the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic. It follows years of the administration making it harder for legal immigrants and illegal border crossers hoping to enter the country.

  • The order would impact around 316,000 foreigners annually if kept in place, according to Migration Policy Institute’s Sarah Pierce.
  • "None of these people can apply for immigrant visas now anyway because of the public health crisis," Pierce said. Because the administration has justified the order by the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus, "we expect that this administration is trying to make more long term changes," she added.
  • But some immigration hawks were disappointed, hoping the order would have a broader impact, given Trump's tweet Monday night.

What to watch: Trump has asked administration officials to also look into temporary work visa programs "to assess whether additional measures should be taken to protect American workers," according to a White House press release.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
Jul 31, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Biden campaign vows virus focus

Joe Biden puts on a mask after a campaign event in Wilmington, Del., on Tuesday. Photo: Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images

Joe Biden's campaign contends that President Trump's talk of delaying November's election is an effort to distract, and vows to be what a Biden aide called "laser-focused" on Trump's pandemic response.

Why it matters: After aides convinced the president that the issue was hurting him badly in the polls, Trump has tried for the past two weeks to show renewed focus on the coronavirus, including the restoration of his briefings.

Jul 31, 2020 - Health

Fauci responds to Trump's testing tweet at House coronavirus hearing

Anthony Fauci on Friday told the House's select coronavirus committee that surging infections in the U.S. were caused by several factors, including states reopening without following social-distancing guidelines.

Why it matters: He was responding directly to a tweet from President Trump, who took to the platform during the hearing to repeat his claim that the U.S. has reported the most cases in the world due to increased testing.

Jul 31, 2020 - Health

CDC: Most COVID-19 cases at Georgia summer camp came from kids

Photo: Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Despite mitigation efforts, a 597-person summer sleep-away camp in Georgia was responsible for a cluster of coronavirus cases in June, where more than half of the positive tests came from children under age 18, according to a case study published Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Kids are not immune to the coronavirus. The findings accentuate the unknown factors associated with how easily children transmit the virus, and only weeks before schools are expected to reopen.