Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said Thursday that President Donald Trump’s immigration executive order is a first step, teasing additional measures aimed at non-immigrant temporary visas.
“That is something that the department has been looking at for the past several months, so we are well underway and look forward to presenting to the President those recommendations for additional steps,” he said during a Fox News interview.
Trump signed his executive order barring some immigration to the United States on Wednesday evening, nearly 48 hours after announcing the move on Twitter.
The order directs the Department of Homeland and Security and the Department of Labor to look at additional recommendations, said Wolf.
After Trump previewed his move in the late-night tweet, the White House was flooded with calls from industry representatives imploring the administration to carve out exemptions for temporary workers, including migrants who work on American farms. The final order excludes temporary guest workers but officials have said a future order could include them.
White House aides have worked to bolster support for the order in the day since it was signed. Stephen Miller, the President’s top adviser on immigration, told allies in a phone call Thursday it was important to “turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor” to protect Americans’ jobs.
Wolf said “critical” exceptions to the order include people coming to the US who participate in the medical field, health care industry and medical research.
“This is a targeted approach and it’s, really, the importance here is making sure that we are protecting American jobs,” he said.
Wolf denied criticism that Trump is only appealing to his “nativist base” and damaging US economic and public health, saying the order applies to “new immigrants” who will compete with Americans for jobs.
Asked about extending travel restrictions to the US, Wolf said, “I think it’s critical to maintain these travel restrictions for a little bit longer till we see how this plays out.”
The executive order is expected to be in effect for at least 60 days, but Trump has said that the extent of the restrictions is subject to change, depending on the needs of American businesses and farms. The President has also said he could extend the order past 60 days.