(CNSNews.com) - President Trump plans to sign an Executive Order on Wednesday pausing some legal immigration, but not all of it, for 60 days.
"We'll help put unemployed Americans first in line for jobs as America reopens," Trump told a news conference on Tuesday. "It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad."
But there are major exemptions to his immigration ban: The ban applies to people seeking permanent resident status (green cards) in the United States but it "will not apply to those entering on a temporary basis," Trump said. Temporary workers include agricultural workers, I.T. workers and certain skilled foreigners who get H-1B1 visas.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told Fox News Tuesday night there should be two priorities here -- "protecting American lives and protecting American jobs. And I think halting legal immigration for 60 days makes perfect sense in accomplishing both of those."
But Cruz said he agreed with host Tucker Carlson that importing foreign I.T. workers to take middle- or upper-class American jobs makes no sense:
We have 22 million Americans who have filed for employment in the last four weeks. But the whole purpose of legal immigration is supposed to benefit the economy. When you have 22 million Americans out of work they need to get the jobs. We don't need to be bringing in a million plus workers when 22 million Americans are out of work.
In a tight labor market, the calculus would be different. But this is a crisis, and we need to get Americans back to work.
I think halting bringing in legal immigration -- and I say this as the son of a legal immigrant. I believe in immigration as long as it benefits jobs. But when you have a catastrophe unfolding, bringing in millions of additional workers before the Americans get hired, that doesn't make any sense.
Tucker Carlson noted the perversity of companies receiving taxpayer relief funds, then hiring foreign workers:
"Look, I think that's right," Cruz said.
And it's one thing three months ago, when we had exceptionally tight market, when we had three percent unemployment, when the economy was booming, it was one thing to make an argument that we need skilled workers.
And I'm a big believer in shifting legal immigration to a skills-based immigration system, where we bring in people that can generate jobs and help the economy. I think that's the strength of our country, that people want to be here.
But it's a different situation when you're in a crisis, when people are being laid off in massive numbers and people need jobs, people need jobs....throughout the economy right now, and I think our priority needs to be keep people safe and help Americans get their jobs back.