ALLENTOWN, Pa. - Local officials say they received an influx of calls Tuesday morning after President Trump said he plans to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.
Trump tweeted Monday night, saying he would suspend immigration in order to protect the jobs of American citizens.
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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
He offered no details about which immigration programs might be affected by the order.
White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany issued a statement Tuesday echoing Trump’s past comments about immigration. She provided no details on what the executive order would entail.
“At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary,” she said.
National security adviser Robert O’Brien earlier Tuesday cast the president’s announcement as a move to protect the American people’s health. O’Brien said the temporary immigration halt would not be “dissimilar” to limits on travel to the U.S. from China that Trump put in place in January.
Officials are hoping to have the order completed within a few days, but it's not yet clear what it will entail.
"The extent of what we've heard is what has been said in the tweet. The president has said he's going to stop all immigration to the United States without giving any further information," said Raymond Lahoud, immigration lawyer and chair of the Immigration Law Practice for Norris McLaughlin.
The phones at Lahoud's firm have been ringing off the hook with concerns, but he says the firm is pushing through like business as usual.
"Immigration law has not, by no means, has it stopped in the Lehigh Valley or abroad. Immigration, Customs Enforcement is still enforcing removal orders. Detained immigration court hearings are still ongoing," he said.
There's still the possibility of potential expanded travel conditions, though there's hope for exemptions for farm workers and health care providers.
"There could be a little bit of good, but hopefully, whatever plan comes out is well thought out because it could have very long-reaching implications on the American economy beyond what's already happened," Lahoud said.