As the United States continues to suffer from the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, President Donald Trump announced yesterday that he was going to issue an executive order suspending all immigration into the United States for an indefinite amount of time. In yet another tweet sent out by the president yesterday, he said, “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’s words were defended by his press secretary, Kayleigh McEnany, who said that the president’s concern was for the “well-being” of American citizens. “As President Trump has said, ‘Decades of record immigration have produced lower wages and higher unemployment for our citizens, especially for African-American and Latino workers,’” she said. “At a time when Americans are looking to get back to work, action is necessary.” Trump has frequently touted that Black and Hispanic unemployment rates were at record lows, but McEnany’s statement contained nothing about how ceasing immigration would stop the spread of COVID-19.
Trump said the move to cease immigration would protect American workers from foreign competition, which seems to be his primary focus. According to the New York Times, a formal order could be issued within the next few days preventing any new green cards or work visas to be distributed. Some workers in industries deemed critical could still be allowed to receive visas, but many workers who for years have received visas to work will not be allowed.
This immigration pronouncement via Twitter is the latest in a series of anti-immigration mandates, usually in order to please his base, only to be stalled or reworked by legal challenges. “He tweets out a broad tweet without details, and the administration tailors it to figure out what might pass judicial review,” Franita Tolson, University of South California constitutional and election law student, told the New York Times. She predicted the administration would yet again be faced with legal challenges. “Given our infection rate and the lack of testing, he’s taking advantage of a national crisis.”
Sources: HuffPost, 4/20/20; New York Times, 4/20/20.