President Donald Trump has said he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend all immigration to the US because of the coronavirus.
On Twitter, he cited "the attack from the invisible enemy", as he calls the virus, and the need to protect the jobs of Americans, but did not give details.
It was not clear what programmes might be affected and whether the president would be able to carry out the order.
Critics say the government is using the pandemic to crack down on immigration.
Mr Trump's announcement late on Monday comes as the White House also argues the worst of the pandemic is over and the country can begin reopening. The US has 782,159 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 41,816 deaths.
The US has already agreed with both Canada and Mexico to extend border restrictions on non-essential travel until at least mid-May.
Travel has also been sharply restricted from Europe and China, though people with temporary work visas, students and business travellers are exempted.
It was not immediately clear who could be affected by Mr Trump's decision. The White House has not commented.
In recent weeks, emergency powers have been used to expel thousands of undocumented migrants on the US border with Mexico. The public health measure lets officials override immigration laws, expediting removal processes.
The reasons behind the move
Donald Trump's efforts at governing by social media should always be taken with a sizable grain of salt. His track record on following through on Twitter directives is decidedly mixed. The details of his temporary ban on all immigration, announced a few hours before midnight on Monday, will shed considerable light on the breadth – and legality – of his actions.
Still, it is no secret that the president, and several key advisors, have long viewed immigration not as a benefit to the nation, but as a drain. And the text of his tweet, that the move is necessary not only to protect the nation's health but also "the jobs of its great American citizens", only emphasizes this.
There is little doubt the proposal, in whatever form it takes, will be vigorously opposed by pro-immigration groups, some business interests and the president's ideological adversaries. That is probably just fine with a man who loves drawing political battle lines and goading his opponents whenever possible.
Four years ago, the president campaigned on an aggressive anti-immigration platform, including a total, if temporary, ban on all Muslims entering the country. Now, with an uphill re-election fight looming, he has found a similarly combative measure to champion.
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