President Donald Trump's sudden announcement he would suspend all immigration into the United States caught White House officials unprepared, forcing them to "scramble" to finish the mandate in less than 48 hours, NBC News reports.
"I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!" Trump declared on Twitter on Monday evening.
Aides told NBC, while they had been aware Trump and other officials were considering a ban, they were not prepared for the sudden announcement, and therefore could not offer details about the order or who it would apply to. White House adviser Stephen Miller, who was reportedly behind Trump's previous travel ban on citizens of certain Muslim-majority countries, was the driving force behind drafts of an executive order banning immigration that were being circulated before Trump's tweet.
"We all need to be out there publicly promoting this vital action, and emphasizing that we have a president that stands with American workers and we have a political opposition in this country that does not," Miller said on a conference call with White House surrogates, according to an unidentified person who took part in the call.
"The most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor," he added. "Mission accomplished with signing that executive order."
The president did not clarify his tweet until Tuesday evening, when he said in his daily press briefing on the coronavirus outbreak that the ban would only apply to people seeking a green card, that temporary workers would not be included, and the order will last for 60 days, pending further review.
He then tweeted Wednesday morning he would sign the executive order that day, forcing administration lawyers to rush to finish their review.
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