The acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, while speaking about the Trump administration’s plan to limit immigration into the U.S, welcomed a challenge to the order.
Acting DHS Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli appeared on Fox & Friends to discuss an executive order to curb the number of foreign nationals who can obtain a green card, a decree that will go into effect right before midnight on Thursday. Many foreign nationals living abroad will be banned from applying for permanent residency.
During the interview, Cuccinelli was asked about New York Attorney General Letitia James’ threat to “take legal action” over the order.
“This proclamation is antithetical to everything we believe as Americans. Immigrants are working essential jobs on the frontlines of this crisis helping to keep our nation and economy moving forward,” James tweeted on Wednesday night, following the release of the order. “I stand ready to take legal action.”
The second-in-command at DHS welcomed James to go ahead, but suggested she would not be successful.
“Well, she’s welcome to lose. But, you know, [there are] essential workers in those exceptions you just identified, and there is a reason the president put them in there because his first goal is to keep us safe, and so people working on medical response to the virus, food supply [can] still come in,” Cuccinelli said.
“It is the other folks that don’t come in and can’t enter our job pool, and can’t compete with Americans right now, at a time when we have gone from record low unemployment to skyrocketing unemployment claims. It’s something that the president is very concerned about,” he continued.
The Trump administration released its executive order on Wednesday night, revealing the details of the ban.
The order will bar many green card applicants abroad from entering the country for 60 days, and will also affect the thousands of immigrants who enter the U.S. via the lottery system.
However, as Cuccinelli pointed out, there are tremendous exceptions in place for individuals working in “essential” industries amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The order does not affect green card applicants who are already living in the U.S. Also, minor children and spouses of American citizens, as well health care workers, foreign investors and applicants who already have approved permanent residency are exempt.
The immigration “ban” also leaves major carve outs for temporary workers, such as those who enter the U.S. to work in agriculture and other essential industries.
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