West Australian police suspend search for student Heng Yi Goh, swept off rocks at Yallingup


Police have called off a marine search for 23-year-old international student Heng Yi Goh, who was swept off rocks near Yallingup this week.

Police said Mr Goh, a University of Western Australia student, was on rocks at the Injidup Nature Spa when a wave knocked him into the ocean on Monday.

They described Mr Goh’s futile attempts to get back to safety before he was swamped by a second big wave and disappeared.

“He was swept off by a wave, managed to scramble back on a rock, and then was hit again by another wave and wasn’t seen since,” said Sergeant Jane Gillham, officer-in-charge at Dunsborough Police Station.

“It’s quite steep, it would be a couple of metres to the water level from where he was standing.”

The search was called off late on Friday.

Photo trip goes horribly wrong

Mr Goh, a Singaporean studying a Masters of Economics, was with five friends, all international students, taking photos of the waves when he was swept away.

“I guess they underestimated the power of the surf that comes in there,” Sergeant Gillham said.

Police have grave concerns amidst massive swell at Injidup Natural Spa.(ABC South West: Anthony Pancia)

Police said the swell was about six metres when Mr Goh was swept away and conditions became so dangerous a search boat was stood down.

With hazardous four-metre swells and wind gusts up to 50 kilometres an hour continuing, searchers called in a rescue helicopter, to no avail.

The south-west coastline is notorious for dangerous surf conditions.

In April, one fisherman died and a second was taken to hospital when they were knocked off rocks near Margaret River, about 50km south of Yallingup.

In 2016, a 25-year-old South West man died after jumping from rocks in the same area.

Mr Goh’s family in Singapore was attempting to arrange travel to Australia.



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Qantas and Virgin Australia suspend remaining international flights


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Both airlines confirmed on Monday they had no further international passenger services scheduled following the end of the government scheme, with aircraft to be grounded and crews working the flights stood down.

A spokeswoman for the Deputy Prime Minister and Transport Minister Michael McCormack said the scheme with Qantas and Virgin was established to get Australians home as soon as possible amid the pandemic.

“The government is reviewing the program noting there are now alternative commercial flight options available from London and Los Angeles,” she said.

The government also has previously arranged for ad hoc repatriation flights from Peru, Argentina, South Africa and India.

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Qantas will continue to fly some international freight flights and said it was ready to fly any further repatriation flights for the government as needed.

A Qantas spokesman said the airline was “proud to have helped thousands of Australians return home as well as taking foreign nationals back in the other direction”.

Over the weekend Mr McCormack announced the government will extend the underwriting over a minimum number of domestic and regional flights operated by Qantas, Virgin and Regional Express.

The end of Qantas and Virgin’s Los Angeles flights leaves United Airlines’ daily Sydney-San Francisco service as the only direct passenger air link between Australia and the United States.

Qatar Airways, Emirates and Etihad Airways have resumed regular flights connecting Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth to the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia via their Gulf hubs, while Air New Zealand is operating some trans-Tasman flights and Cathay Pacific is flying to Hong Kong.

Under current border restrictions, only Australian citizens, residents and immediate family members can travel to Australia and must go into quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

Australians have been banned from leaving the the country since March 25 unless they receive an exemption because their travel relates to work combating the COVID-19 pandemic, is in an essential industry, is for medical treatment or on compassionate or humanitarian grounds.

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Trump To Temporarily Suspend Immigration Into US Amid Coronavirus Pandemic


President Donald Trump tweeted Monday (April 21) that he will sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the U.S. amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The president also noted the need to “protect jobs.”

“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,” Trump wrote.

It is so far unclear when the order will be signed or how it will be carried out.  Any such order will also most probably run into legal challenges.

With the U.S. economy on hold due to the pandemic, over 22 million people have filed for unemployment benefits in the last month, with many families now having to line up at food banks while waiting for government aid.

The U.S. has not seen this level of job losses since the Great Depression, with many people losing their jobs and businesses having to close. Even the businesses that have remained open are seeing significant drop in sales.

As of April 21, the U.S. has reported the most number of COVID-19 cases in the world, with over 786,000 cases and more than 42,000 deaths, according to a dashboard maintained by the John Hopkins University.

Earlier in the outbreak, the U.S. had enforced a travel ban in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus. That ban did not apply to American citizens, legal permanent residents and their immediate families.  At the time, confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. were at over 2,200 and the virus had already spread to nearly every state. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced Monday that it will extend restrictions in place for non-essential travel between the U.S., Canada and Mexico by 30 days. This means that the temporary border closure, which was first enforced March 21, will be extended until May 19.

“In close collaboration, the U.S., Mexico, and Canada have each agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across their shared borders for 30 additional days,” Acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement. “As President Trump stated last week, border control, travel restrictions and other limitations remain critical to slowing the spread and allowing the phased opening of the country.”





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Coronavirus: Trump to ‘temporarily suspend immigration’ to US due to COVID-19 | US News


Donald Trump has vowed to “temporarily suspend immigration” into the US due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The US president wrote on Twitter: “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!”

He did not give further details, however, and the White House did not clarify.









New York’s governor blasts Trump over funding

Reaction was mixed, with former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro tweeting: “You cut off immigration, you crater our nation’s already weakened economy. What a dumb move.”

But Thomas Homan, Mr Trump’s former acting director of US immigration and customs enforcement, said: “It makes sense to protect opportunities for our workforce while this pandemic plays out.

“It’s really not about immigration – it’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”

It comes as COVID-19 continues to tighten its grip on the US. More than 785,000 people have been confirmed as having the virus and more than 42,000 have died.

The virus has also hit the economy and seen more than 22 million people apply for unemployment benefits in the last month.

Due to measures taken to limit the virus’s spread, almost all visa processing by the State Department has been suspended for the past few weeks.

This includes visas for immigrants.

Mr Trump’s anti-immigration move comes as he continues to push for the re-opening of the US economy.

This is despite Dr Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious-disease expert, warning on ABC: “Unless we get the virus under control, the real recovery economically is not going to happen.”

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Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, plans to restart his state’s economy before the end of next week and Texas has started to reopen, beginning with state parks and saying that stores will be able to provide some services later this week.

Tennessee’s governor, Bill Lee, has said businesses there will start reopening as early as next week, although the order did not cover some of the largest cities.



Hundreds of people gathered outside the governor’s residence in St Paul, Minnesota, on Friday, April 17, to protest the state’s coronavirus-related lockdown measures, video shows.







Hundreds gather to protest lockdown in Minnesota

Elective surgery will resume under certain rules in West Virginia, and Colorado’s stay-at-home order expires next week.

But many other governors said their states did not have enough testing supplies, leaving them vulnerable to a second wave of infections.





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Trump says he’ll ‘suspend immigration’ into the US – POLITICO


U.S. President Donald Trump | Tasos Katopodis/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The suspension is related to the coronavirus pandemic and stood in stark contrast to the president’s recent cautious optimism.

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday night said that he was suspending immigration into the U.S. because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“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!“ Trump posted on Twitter.

The announcement stood in contrast to Trump’s recent messages of cautious optimism about the country soon reemerging from weeks of lockdowns designed to contain the virus. The president has repeatedly tried to downplay the severity of the outbreak since its arrival in the country, and his push to reopen the economy has put him at odds with some of the nation‘s governors and, at times, his top health experts.

Trump did not hint at making any drastic immigration moves during his lengthy daily coronavirus news briefing earlier Monday evening. Immigration has largely taken a back seat during the pandemic as the president hopes to salvage a strong economy that had become one of his major campaign points in the lead-up to the November election.

Trump has previously boasted that closing the borders to foreigners traveling from China demonstrated his administration‘s serious and early response to the threat from the coronavirus. International travel has come to a virtual standstill as countries across the globe have imposed travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the disease.

Trump’s tweet did not make clear what specific action he would take: He could simply suspend entries for a period of time, or cancel a specific program altogether for the year.

The Department of Homeland Security is still drafting the executive order, according to three people familiar with the situation. One possibility that has been discussed is an exemption for temporary guest workers, including those who work on farms.

When asked what promoted the decision, a top DHS official responded: “22 million unemployed Americans and counting due to Covid-19.”

Since the pandemic began, the administration had already restricted foreign visitors from China, Europe, Canada and Mexico, and had paused processing for immigrants trying to come into the U.S. on non-worker visas because of office closures. That means the impact would probably address only immigrants coming here to work.

Trump has faced calls from conservatives to stop allowing foreign workers to enter the U.S. because millions of Americans are out of work after shutdowns to stop the spread of the virus. But for weeks, his administration allowed them to enter.

Specifically, the U.S. eased requirements for immigrants to get certain jobs, such as farmworkers, landscapers and crab pickers, aware that certain industries, including those that fill grocery store shelves, could be hurt if they couldn’t hire foreign employees. It has also begun easing the process for companies looking to hire foreign workers, altering some paperwork requirements, including allowing electronic signatures and waiving the physical inspection of documents.

In early April, the administration backtracked on a plan to pause the approval of 35,000 more seasonal worker visas, pending further review.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who is running for a Senate seat in Alabama, pushed for a complete moratorium on immigration to the U.S. on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News last week.

Carlson has been in close contact with Trump during the course of this virus and was one of the primary outside allies pushing him to do the China travel ban back in early January.

Immediately after the president’s tweet on Monday night, hard-line immigration groups cheered the decision.

Trump’s decision will anger the business community, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has argued that foreign workers are critical to companies that might be unable to find enough unemployed Americans willing to take certain jobs.

The move could contradict Trump’s previous statements. He has repeatedly touted the importance of agricultural visas in recent weeks.

“We want them to come in,” he said in early April. “We’re not closing the border so that we can’t get any of those people to come in. They’ve been there for years and years, and I’ve given the commitment to the farmers: They’re going to continue to come. Or we‘re not going to have any farmers.”

Despite Trump’s campaign vow to reduce immigration, the number of immigrants with temporary visas has steadily increased during his presidency, reaching 925,000 in 2018, according to the Migration Policy Institute.

While there is no cap for the total number of temporary workers, there are annual limits on several of the dozen-plus visa categories. More than 1 million immigrants are allowed into the United States each year on a permanent basis, but only a fraction — 140,000 — come through employment categories.

Democratic Representative Joaquin Castro, chairman of the House Hispanic Caucus and vice chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, condemned Trump’s remarks as a mere diversion from the criticism the president has been receiving for his response to the virus.

“This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda,“ Castro tweeted Monday night. “We must come together to reject his division.”

Democratic Representative Jerry Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, echoed Castro’s thoughts, tweeting: “President Trump now seeks to distract us from his fumbled COVID-19 response by trying to put the blame on immigrants. The truth is many immigrants are on our front lines, protecting us as doctors, nurses, health aids, farmworkers, and restaurant workers.“

But RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors immigration restrictions, said: “Putting the brakes on immigrant admissions at the height of a health crisis and mass unemployment is the right call and shouldn’t be controversial. However, one question remains — are there any caveats like guest workers being excluded from the order? We’ll see.”

Gabby Orr contributed to this report.





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Trump says he will suspend all immigration into U.S. over coronavirus



U.S. President Donald Trump points to a reporter as he answers questions during the daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., April 20, 2020. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst


April 21, 2020

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Monday he will suspend all immigration into the United States temporarily through an executive order in response to the coronavirus outbreak and to protect U.S. jobs.

The move, which the Republican president announced on Twitter, effectively achieves one of Trump’s long-term policy goals of curbing immigration, making use of the health and economic crisis that has swept the country as a result of the pandemic to do so.

The decision drew swift condemnation from Democrats.

Trump said he was taking the action to protect the U.S. workforce. Millions of Americans are suffering unemployment after companies shed employees amid nationwide lockdowns to stop the contagion.

“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,” Trump said in a tweet.

The White House declined to offer further details about the reasoning behind the decision, its timing, or its legal basis.

Trump won the White House in 2016 in part on a promise to curb immigration by building a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico. He and his advisers have spent the first three years of his tenure cracking down on both legal and illegal entries into the country.

“You cut off immigration, you crater our nation’s already weakened economy,” former Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro said in a tweet. “What a dumb move.”

The development comes as the U.S. death toll from the virus topped 42,000 on Monday, according to a Reuters tally.

The U.S. economy has come to a near standstill because of the pandemic; more than 22 million people applied for unemployment benefits in the last month.

“It makes sense to protect opportunities for our workforce while this pandemic plays out,” said Thomas Homan, Trump’s former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “It’s really not about immigration. It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans.”

The United States has the world’s largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 780,000 infections, up 27,000 on Monday.

But the president has made a point of saying the peak had passed and has been encouraging U.S. states to reopen their economies.

The United States in mid-March suspended all routine visa services, both immigrant and non-immigrant, in most countries worldwide due to the coronavirus outbreak in a move that has potentially impacted hundreds of thousands of people.

U.S. missions have continued to provide emergency visa services as resources allowed and a senior State Department official in late March said U.S. was ready work with people who were already identified as being eligible for various types of visas, including one for medical professionals.

The administration recently announced an easing of rules to allow in more agricultural workers on temporary H2A visas to help farmers with their crops.

(Additional reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru, Humeyra Pamuk in Washington, and Mica Rosenberg; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)





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