In what he claims is an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, Donald Trump tweeted on Monday night that he plans to halt immigration into the United States. "In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!" he wrote.

As the nation continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy, officials are drafting the executive order for the president to sign in the next few days. The order would stop the issuance of new green cards and work visas. An official from the Trump administration told CNN that the order will be "temporary, 12o days or so." The official added that the order will have exemptions for health care professionals and farm workers — workers deemed "essential" for  the country to keep functioning.

Donald Trump

Further travel restrictions will be imposed in addition to the the current bans on travel to Europe and China. Trump is also looking to close the border and block entry to asylum seekers. Citizenship ceremonies have been put on hold and nonessential travel will be forbidden, including flights to neighboring countries Mexico and Canada.

These White House initiatives have faced criticism from immigration activists and political leaders like former Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar, who tweeted: "As our country battles the pandemic, as workers put their lives on the line, the president attacks immigrants and blames others for his own failures. The order I’d like to see tonight? Testing. Instead he twists 'the buck stops here' into this: 'the buck stops anywhere but here.'"

President Trump Conference Iraq
Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Others have shown their support. "President Trump is committed to protecting the health and economic well-being of American citizens as we face unprecedented times," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said in a statement. "As President Trump has said, 'Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African American and Latino workers.' At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary."