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Immigrant Advocates Say Trump Is Using Coronavirus To Further Restrict Immigration

In this Dec. 10, 2015, file photo, pedestrians crossing from Mexico into the United States at the Otay Mesa Port of Entry wait in line in San Diego. The Trump administration's new rules could deny green cards to immigrants if they use Medicaid, food stamps, housing vouchers and other forms of public assistance. (Denis Poroy/AP)
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President Trump said Tuesday that he plans to sign an executive order temporarily suspending the issuance of green cards for people seeking legal residency.

Trump tweeted Monday night that he would “temporarily suspend immigration,” citing a need to protect American workers in light of the coronavirus crisis. However, he said in a White House briefing Tuesday afternoon that the forthcoming order would not affect people entering on a temporary basis, such as guest workers.

Trump said the order would be in effect for 60 days but could be extended and that “any extension or modification will be evaluated by economic conditions at the time.”

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Local immigrant advocates said they believe Trump is using the COVID-19 crisis as cover for further restricting immigration to the U.S.

“What’s happening with this pandemic is that this administration has been able to exploit this public health crisis to be able to really curtail the rights of immigrants," said Farida Chehata, managing attorney for immigrant rights with the Orange County office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.