Late Monday evening, President Trump announced that he will sign an executive order (EO) that will “temporarily suspend immigration into the United States” due to 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 tweeted.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
According to Politico, a top DHS official said the executive order is due to “22 million unemployed Americans and counting.” The news outlet indicated that the Department of Homeland Security is still finalizing the EO.
Details outlining the EO have not been released by the White House as yet, but exemptions for temporary guest workers, including those who work on farms and health workers who come in to help with COVID-19 treatment and testing are possible, according to sources.
Trump’s immigration EO is expected to include exceptions for migrant farmworkers, who make up about a tenth of the workforce on U.S. farms, and health-care workers, particularly those helping treat coronavirus patients. https://t.co/220oF1A3Cw
— Rebecca Ballhaus (@rebeccaballhaus) April 21, 2020
Previous moves by the administration since the onset of the pandemic include the placement of restrictions on visitors from China, Europe, Canada, and Mexico, as well as halting the processing of non-worker visas for immigrants seeking to come into the U.S. due to office closures.
Observers believe the impact of the pending EO will address immigrants wanting to come into the country to work.
Conservative interests have come down on both sides of the issue in recent weeks–with some employers lobbying to allow select foreign guest workers entry, even as tens of millions of Americans have lost their jobs, while others have been seeking a halt to worker immigration in order to put more Americans back to work.
.@DHS_Wolf is going to admit tens of thousands of foreign guest workers in the coming month to satisfy the corporate lobby. These guest workers will be dispersed across the entire U.S.. putting Americans out of work and hampering efforts to control the coronavirus. https://t.co/q62cAi162M
— NumbersUSA (@NumbersUSA) March 30, 2020
In an April 2 report by Politico, Jon Baselice, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce executive director of immigration policy, was quoted to say: “Many immigrant workers are currently helping our nation fight the spread of Covid-19,” referring to medical professionals, scientists, and farm workers. “Their contributions to our national well-being are critically important to our safety and security until we flatten the curve on this pandemic.”
Following Trump’s tweet, strong support for the pending executive order was forthcoming from multiple sources. A group calling itself the American Workers Coalition tweeted: “A Truly Magnificent Move @Potus. #AmericanWorkers have been counting on you. THANK YOU!”
A Truly Magnificent Move @Potus.#AmericanWorkers have been counting on you.
THANK YOU!!!!! https://t.co/JxCxvyNXGU
— American Workers Coalition🇺🇸 #HireAmerican (@AmWorkCo) April 21, 2020
Rep. Paul Gosar of Arizona, wrote: “Thank you, @realDonaldTrump! All immigration to the United States should halt until every American who wants a job has one!”
Thank you, @realDonaldTrump! All immigration to the United States should halt until every American who wants a job has one! https://t.co/OGWTk0PKEV
— Rep. Paul Gosar, DDS (@RepGosar) April 21, 2020
“The president’s comments reflect a sensitivity to a primary purpose of all immigration laws of every country, and that is to protect a nation’s vulnerable workers,” said Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA, endorsing the move. “With tens of millions of Americans who want to work full time not able to, most immigration makes no sense today, and to allow it to continue at its current level at this time would show a callous disregard for those enduring deep economic suffering.”
Amber Athey, Spectator USA’s Washington editor intimated that there would be no effective political argument mounted against the action to halt immigration for the time being …
Given tens of millions of Americans are out of work right now and we’re battling a virus that spreads through human-to-human transmission I am dying to hear one coherent argument against this https://t.co/wfemKrzUh8
— Amber Athey (@amber_athey) April 21, 2020
Still, Democrats are predictably criticizing the move, while further abandoning their traditional support base–American labor–as they try to maintain their indefensible anti-American, anti-Trump open-borders platform.
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. We must come together to reject his division. https://t.co/wYEai4rYVY
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) April 21, 2020
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. https://t.co/nJef4W5qZK
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 21, 2020
“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,” said RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “However, one question remains — are there any caveats like guest workers being excluded from the order? We’ll see.”
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