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Newsletter: Trump targets new green cards

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President Trump says he’ll suspend green card applications amid the coronavirus outbreak.

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Trump Targets New Green Cards

Citing the economic effects of the coronavirus shutdown, President Trump said he will order a 60-day ban on new immigrants seeking permanent status in the United States — but exactly what that means at this point isn’t clear, as Trump said the executive order was still being written last night.

The president did say the ban would cover people seeking green cards that provide permanent status, and that it would not affect temporary visitors or foreign agricultural laborers. Trump also hinted at future measures but suggested no such steps are imminent.

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Yet, while the president emphasized the need to protect U.S. workers, his announcement did not spell out how the order would accomplish that goal. He has often promised sweeping executive actions that have not lived up to his rhetoric.

Trump has been openly frustrated with polls showing the majority of Americans feel he has done a bad job in handling the coronavirus outbreak, and he has frequently turned to immigration — a main campaign staple for him — when he feels a need to demonstrate executive action.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an interview on PBS, dismissed the president’s move as a “distraction.”

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Trying to Spot Their Opening

In the South, several governors have begun to reopen states shuttered by the coronavirus outbreak, prompting pushback from some mayors and a senior Republican senator who say the restrictions are being lifted too quickly.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp announced that gyms, hair and nail salons, tattoo parlors and bowling alleys could reopen Friday as long as customers obeyed social distancing guidelines. “I am beyond disturbed,” said Van R. Johnson, mayor of Savannah, Ga., in an interview on CNN.

Meanwhile, in California, a small group of local officials is asking Gov. Gavin Newsom to consider changes in his sweeping statewide stay-at-home restrictions based on local conditions. San Luis Obispo County officials are arguing they might be in better shape to ease rules faster than more populous hotspots like Los Angeles County and Silicon Valley.

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On Tuesday, Newsom suggested that he would not allow local officials to take any action that would loosen the statewide restrictions that he put in place more than a month ago. But in recent days, some communities have lifted local rules more restrictive than the state’s. Riverside County and Orange County, for example, allowed golf courses to reopen with social distancing measures.

More Testing, and a ‘Worst-Case Scenario’

California public health officials have partially lifted restrictions on who should receive tests for the coronavirus, recommending for the first time that asymptomatic people living or working in high-risk settings such as nursing homes, prisons and even some households should now be considered a priority.

The officials say California is the first state to broaden restrictive federal guidelines and that the move reflects increasing availability of testing, as major labs report sufficient supplies and excess capacity to run more procedures.

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But others say it’s too early to tell if sufficient progress is being made to enhance a testing process that has been botched from the start by delays and bungling. Just last week, state officials said swab and reagent supply chains remained inadequate.

At the same time, state public health officials are still planning for a “worst-case scenario.” They quietly published a sobering set of detailed guidelines to answer the troubling ethical question of who lives and who dies, should California face a new surge in the coronavirus outbreak resulting in a shortage of ventilators and medical supplies.

More Top Coronavirus Headlines

— The Senate has overwhelmingly approved a deal to increase funding for the Paycheck Protection Program, a popular small business loan program that ran out of money last week. The House is expected to pass the measure on Thursday.

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— Autopsies have revealed that two coronavirus-infected people died in Santa Clara County on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17, making them the first documented COVID-19 fatalities in the U.S.

— Officials in Mexico are warning that the country is about to experience a major surge in infections and deaths.

Los Angeles County courts have launched a program to conduct arraignments via video, the latest in a series of actions to reduce traffic in the nation’s largest court system amid the crisis.

— Here’s what scientists still wish they knew about the virus.

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— A side effect: lots of lawsuits for businesses.

Plus, here are some tips on getting through the days ahead. For more, sign up for Coronavirus Today, a special edition of The Times’ Health and Science newsletter. As with all our newsletters, it’s free:

— Thinking of getting a drive-through test? This video shows what it was like for one of our photographers.

— How to make a no-sew coronavirus mask with a T-shirt.

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Where the Wild Things Are

Raccoons and owls and coyotes — oh my! Southern Californians staying at home have been seeing more wildlife outside their doors. But is it a sign that Mother Nature is taking back the neighborhood?

Naturalists say the animals have always been around us and there’s no evidence that their numbers are greater, despite all the social media postings to the contrary. It’s more a case of people taking notice of them in these slower times.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Since 1970, millions of Americans have spent April 22, Earth Day, learning about the environment and calling for action to protect it, especially on school campuses. In 1970, Los Angeles students targeted air pollution, marking the day with speeches, exhibits and demonstrations — plus some unusual stunts. “Some 60 students at Miraleste High School in Palos Verdes observed Earth Day by arriving at school on horseback instead of driving their cars,” The Times reported, while students at Santa Monica High School buried a car engine and wore surgical masks.

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Sixth-grader Brad Frank, 11, wearing a gas mask, joins about 100 classmates during a march on Wilshire Boulevard on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970.
(George Fry / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

— The Oasis Mobile Home Park in the Coachella Valley was already dealing with decrepit trailers, piles of garbage and arsenic in the water. The pandemic and its economic consequences have brought a new level of misery to the poor farm workers who live there.

— With schools and care programs closed, the pandemic has led to an “alarming” drop in child abuse reports. The L.A. County sheriff is working to identify high-risk minors and perform welfare checks.

— As the school year slips away, state officials are far behind in a race to provide students the computers and broadband they need to continue learning.

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— A magnitude 3.7 earthquake jolted Los Angeles just after midnight, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Though minor, the quake rattled many nerves. (Reminder: It’s never too early to prepare for the big one.)

— Get ready for the first heat wave of 2020. The National Weather Service says high temperatures of 85 to 95 will be common, with the hottest on Friday and Saturday.

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NATION-WORLD

— A bipartisan Senate report affirms the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election to help Trump win. The report rejects Trump’s claims that the intelligence community was biased against him when it concluded that Russia had interfered on his behalf.

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— Postponing the Tokyo Olympics could cost as much as $6 billion. Officials are wrangling over who will foot the bill.

— Feasts and shared meals are a hallmark of Ramadan. But as the holiday arrives amid a pandemic, Muslims around the world are finding they must alter their plans.

— After denying there was a crisis, Indonesia has the most COVID-19 deaths in Asia except for China.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

— Does the pandemic prove the need for AB 5? The labor law’s defenders say the coronavirus shows its worker protections are crucial. But some arts organizations say they shelled out to comply, only for their income to dry up.

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— Happy 20th birthday to “Love and Basketball.” The cast and crew of the beloved film tell the story of its creation and its legacy in an oral history.

Hollywood is an industry built on the work-around. Here’s how TV pros are getting creative to keep shows afloat.

— AT&T’s new streaming service HBO Max will finally launch May 27. It will be among the most expensive of the video-on-demand streaming services, but company officials hope the pandemic will drive sign-ups.

— Fox’s “Empire” was a smash hit that changed the industry and was set to end on a high. The COVID-19 pandemic has compromised its bow.

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BUSINESS

Dylan Howard, an editor and later the chief content officer of American Media Inc., publisher of the National Enquirer — and a central figure in Jeff Bezos’ blackmail claims and Trump’s secret money payments — quietly left the company on March 31.

— The founders of Amoeba Music, the beloved Bay Area and Hollywood record store, say they need financial help to stay afloat.

— L.A.'s sweatshops are open and busier than ever, only now they’re making masks instead of T-shirts.

SPORTS

— Former UCLA soccer coach Jorge Salcedo said he would plead guilty for his role in the college admissions scandal. He’s charged with endorsing the fraudulent admission of two students for $200,000 in bribes.

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— How Canadian hockey star Haley Wickenheiser earned her biggest assist during the pandemic.

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Get our free daily crossword puzzle, sudoku, word search and arcade games in our new game center at latimes.com/games.

OPINION

— Actor John Cho: The current wave of anti-Asian hate crimes reminds Asian Americans like me that our belonging is conditional.

— In the U.S., life-saving treatments often come with astronomical price tags, columnist David Lazarus writes. Should we expect a COVID-19 vaccine to be any different?

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WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

— The pandemic has laid bare the ways economic status can divide us, like who gets to work from home and order delivery. It’s also poised to shake up those class divisions. (The Atlantic)

— Is Trump right about Nancy Pelosi’s Chinatown “parties”? Spoiler alert: No. (Sacramento Bee)

ONLY IN L.A.

The riverside park that bears his name is small, but the legacy of his work protecting that river is anything but. Lewis MacAdams, who has died of complications related to Parkinson’s disease, was a visionary figure who led the army known as Friends of the Los Angeles River and mentored generations of activists in fights to reduce the damage along it. He was key to making river restoration an issue for policymakers and winning approval of a $1.6-billion federal project to restore habitat, widen the channel, create wetlands and provide access points and bike trails. His goal? “When steelhead trout return to the L.A. River,” he wrote in his unfinished memoir, “our work will be done.

Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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