The White House is currently facing an internal battle over President Trump’s announcement Monday night that he will sign an executive order temporarily halting immigration amid the coronavirus outbreak. The details of the order had not been finalized as of Tuesday morning, causing frantic debate over which groups of immigrants will be exempt from the ban.
Immigration restrictionists have been trying to sell the president on the idea of a ban for at least a week, pointing to various polling that shows it is popular among voters due to fears of the spread of COVID-19 and the high unemployment numbers in the US. Twenty-two million people thus far have filed for unemployment as the economy has practically shut down because of social distancing measures. However, some members of the administration were angry that the president announced the ban on Twitter. They immediately began scrambling to take control over the details.
Sources familiar with the situation told The Spectator that the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is one of the loudest voices pushing back on a full ban and is seeking to carve out exemptions for refugees, temporary workers under the H1B visa program, and farmworkers under the H-2A visa program. These provisions, one source warned, would defeat the purpose of protecting Americans unemployed due to the COVID crisis. The New York Times, however, reported that the president intends to announce Tuesday evening that he will only temporarily halt the issuance of green cards, hardly the sweeping halt advocates were pushing for.
A senior White House official disputes this version of events and says that Jared has been supportive of the president’s policy.
A group of lawmakers, including Reps. Jim Jordan, Andy Biggs, Matt Gaetz, and Lee Zeldin met with the president and newly-minted chief of staff Mark Meadows in the Oval Office on Tuesday afternoon to discuss issues relating to the coronavirus. Two individuals familiar with the details of the meeting told The Spectator that the conversation included general support for the immigration order, as well as plans to reopen the economy and funding of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).