SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - President Trump announced on Twitter Monday night that he plans to temporarily suspend immigration as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic.
The President tweeted: "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!"
"I can imagine first thing tomorrow morning, I'm going have clients call me to try and figure out if this applies to them or not," said Dulce Garcia, an immigration attorney who is also a part of the advocacy group Border Angels.
Garcia said the pandemic has already impacted immigration in the U.S. The asylum system and consular processing are an example. She added new visas are being processed. Travel along the border is limited, and travel restrictions are already in place, so she's not sure what else the executive order would aim to do. She is also concerned about the language in the President's tweet that tied immigration with protecting jobs.
"We think this is just to create fear and anxiety in our immigrant community, more than it is about having a real impact on folks," Garcia said.
She also thinks it is likely to be challenged in court.
"The president doesn't have the power to detain immigration laws. And he's using the pandemic as an excuse to issue an executive order that's so broad it could essentially overstep Congress," she said. "I do see that this could be litigated down the road if the president does indeed use it as an excuse to stop immigration altogether."
Pedro Rios, with human rights group American Friends Service Committee, was critical of the president's plan to suspend immigration. They sent 10News the following statement:
"President Trump is attempting to create a distraction by tying immigration to the COVID-19 pandemic, suggesting migrants are at fault for his utter incompetence and disastrous mismanagement that has led to scores of people dying under his watch. While we have yet to see the contents of the new immigration executive order, when xenophobia guides someone's policies, they offer no real, substantial solutions and are sure to place even more people at risk."