“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!”
This message stands in stark contrast to the president’s recent cautiously optimistic messages about reopening the country after various lockdowns instituted to prevent the spread of the disease. The president did not allude to this executive order during his lengthy daily briefing earlier in the day.
The “invisible enemy,” as Trump refers to the coronavirus, continues to threaten the U.S. and the world; yet the president waffles on the severity of this threat, except when it seems to serve his own political purposes.
During the pandemic, immigration has remained on the backburner of political thought. The imminent threat of life-and-death policies has rightly taken center stage. These new executive orders, however, are suddenly pulling this political hot button to the foreground.
According to those familiar with this plan, the barring of new green cards and work visas could be in place within a short few days. The order means that no applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States will not be granted, and those seeking asylum will not find it.
Even workers previously granted visas for specialized jobs will be denied entrance. It is possible that those deemed “critical” in this time, however, might receive permission to come to the United States and serve coronavirus pandemic.
White House officials have offered few details on the closures, though a senior administration told NBC News that this move “had been under consideration for a while.” Implementation for the plan, which countries will be affected, and other details are said to be forthcoming.
The executive orders have brought criticism from immigration advocates and activists. They’ve called this move unprecedented and radical. President and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Krish O’Mara Vignarajah spoke out.
“The implication is that immigrants are a threat to the American economy, but we know the exact opposite to be true. While immigrants across America are on the front lines risking their lives to save ours, it is simply unconscionable to scapegoat immigrants for this pandemic.”
The tweet from Senator Kamala Harris, Democrat of California, in response, says it all.
“Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1. His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda. Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up.”