If you think the only pandemic in today’s world is COVID-19, think again. The real pandemic in this country is Donald J. Trump. From the outset of his Presidency, Trump has issued policies and Executive Orders with no intent other than to destroy our immigration system. Thinly disguised as ways to protect American workers, Trump has instituted multiple xenophobic proclamations that have no basis in reality. While Trump has left most of his destructive policy work to Steve Miller who has a long history as an anti-immigrant extremist, the entire administration has engaged in negative rhetoric and overt activities to disrupt our immigration system. Sadly, Trump sycophants have bought into the rhetoric and continue to support the anti-immigrant policies despite the damage being done to America.
Starting with the Muslim Ban, Trump and Miller set out very early in the administration to curtail immigration for family members. Trump’s new ban on immigration is his most sweeping attack on the legal immigration system yet. Starting April 23, 2020, the new travel ban blocks the issuance of all new immigrant (permanent) visas to people outside the United States, with some exceptions. Specifically, the ban covers: (1) Parents of U.S. citizens; (2) Adult children of U.S. citizens; (3) Spouses and children (regardless of age) of lawful permanent residents; (4) The diversity visa program; (5) All employment-based immigrant visas, except EB-5 investor visas; and (6) All other immigrant visas, unless specifically exempted.
In its current form, the ban does not apply to nonimmigrant (temporary) visas, such as students and H-1B high-skilled workers. The ban also does not affect anyone seeking to gain a green card from inside the United States through “adjustment of status,” which does not require obtaining a visa from outside the country, but given the administration’s track record, don’t be surprised if those categories are added when the current ban is set to expire.
Although the ban will supposedly last just 60 days by the 50th day, the Secretary of State is required to recommend to the President whether to extend the ban again. And, you can bet that Trump will extend the ban and cause yet another in his endless litany of lawsuits which continue to cost tax-payers millions of dollars, but which this administration is clearly infatuated with.
If nothing else, Trump is certainly an expert at blaming everyone but himself for all the problems with our country, yet he quickly takes credit for the few positives we’ve seen under his administration. In terms of immigration policy there has been nothing positive from Trump. If our economy continues to struggle, the President will continue to use immigrants as an excuse for his short-comings and will certainly block new immigrants from America despite the overwhelming evidence that immigration benefits our country.
As of now, routine visa services at consulates abroad are already suspended due to the coronavirus, so Trump’s latest ban does not change much in the short-term. However, the effect will likely be significant if the ban continues once those consulates reopen. According to an analysis of the ban, all legal immigration would be cut by 33%. While U.S.-citizen spouses are not affected, nearly two thirds of parents of U.S. citizens would get blocked. 93% of other family-based immigrants would as well. However, because a vast majority of those who obtain green cards through employment categories do so from inside the United States, employment-based immigration is largely unaffected. Given their track record, in time Trump and Miller will figure out a way to cut employment-based immigration while lying to the general public about how much this administration has done to benefit our country with legal immigration.
It should come as no surprise that Trump’s latest restrictions on immigration look suspiciously like the cuts the President has been seeking in Congress for years. Contrary to the President’s incessant lies and false claims about immigration, immigrants have long been shown to help the American economy, not hurt it.
Americans tend to react to immigration issues based on public rhetoric from politicians and the trending news at the time. However, it should be self-evident that the most important thing in every person’s life is family. If the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t taught us that, then we have failed ourselves in many ways. Any ban that keeps families separated should be frowned on by all Americans. Yet, Trump and his entire administration appear to relish this moment where they can hide their true intent to destroy our immigration system behind a world-wide pandemic. That is why the real pandemic in this country is not COVID-19, it’s Donald J. Trump.