Thursday, April 23, 2020

Responses to the Suspension of Immigration

There are plenty of harsh rebukes of President Trump's suspension of immigration yesterday.  Here are a few.


Asian Americans Advancing Justice released a statement:

"[T]his President sank to a new low by taking advantage of a global health crisis to further his anti-immigrant agenda by banning most immigration to the U.S. This unprecedented Proclamation will go into effect as of midnight tomorrow and will be in effect for at least 60 days. Asian Americans, who are sponsoring family members, are the largest group impacted by the order. While the administration is calling this a temporary measure, our communities know better. This is the latest in the administration’s long line of anti-immigrant policies meant to change the racial composition of our country. 

With your partnership, we have weathered more than three years of constant attacks on our communities, from the `temporary' Muslim Ban to the mass deportations of our Southeast Asian community members. We will not stop now. Rest assured, we will be using all the tools at our disposal to monitor and challenge this Presidential overreach. "
Asian Americans Advancing Justice also shared a community advisory on the latest immigration ban.  


The following statement is from Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council:  

“Today’s immigration ban is unprecedented. Undeniably, we are in the middle of a moment like none other, and the pandemic is challenging us on multiple levels as a nation. We must rise to the occasion to meet this crisis. We need a strong and effective public health response, and we need a smart economic recovery plan. However, today’s order is about neither.

“There has been a steady effort by the Trump administration to completely shut down immigration to the United States for the past three years. It is no surprise they are using the coronavirus as a pretext to advance this agenda. Today’s order does precisely what the president has been asking Congress to do: cut immigration levels overall, separate families, and terminate the diversity visa program.

“Our political leaders should be focused on containing and preventing further spread of the coronavirus, but instead the president is attempting to divide us. He is attempting to distract and deflect attention by focusing on his go-to issue—immigration.

“America is at its best when we band together and take care of one another in spite of the uncertainty of the moment. Since the coronavirus outbreak began, we have seen a renewed sense of interdependence and mutual care rise up from all corners of our nation. We must stand united. Americans and newcomers are in this fight together as we recover and rebuild our economy. The vibrancy of our future depends on it.”

The American Immigration Council provides a summary of the presidential proclamation suspending the entry of certain immigrants here.



Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to Donald J. Trump’s proclamation imposing severe limits on immigration to the United States:


“Donald Trump's proclamation today, purporting to restrict certain immigration to the United States in response to the COVID-19 crisis, is a desperate and nightmarish Frankenstein of nativism, hypocrisy, phony economics, and attempted political diversion.  


“The proclamation begins with a recitation of simplistic and faulty assertions about rudimentary labor economics, whose sole purpose is to sow division in the vain hope of reviving political support that Trump is rapidly losing through his pathetic performance during the current pandemic.


“The proclamation follows with a troubling arrogation of quasi-dictatorial powers that is in transparent tension with Trump's assertion of his own executive impotence -- an assertion still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court -- when it comes to protecting recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).


“A president who cared about labor economics and about the working people of this country would long ago have acted to ensure that recipients of DACA and of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) could remain contributors in our then full-employment economy.  Even now, a real president would understand and protect the ongoing contributions of current and future immigrants to our nation's growth and recovery as an economy and as a society.


“It is clear that our nation's true 'Invisible Enemy' Trump tweeted about two days ago is his own corrupt and racist heart.”



The following is a statement from Ali Noorani, President and CEO of the National Immigration Forum:

“President Trump’s proclamation is another step towards severely curtailing legal immigration to the United States. While the immediate policy implications are dire for some families who seek reunification, the proclamation opens the doors to significant changes in the system in the months ahead.

“By mandating the 30-day review of nonimmigrant programs and recommending further measures to ‘ensure the prioritization, hiring, and employment of United States workers,’ the administration is following the playbook of the 2017 immigration executive orders that laid the groundwork for the cuts to legal immigration we have seen since then.

“While the president disguises a campaign statement as a proclamation, immigrants across the nation are doing essential work as part of America’s COVID-19 response and recovery, whether as health care workers, vaccine researchers, agricultural and food service workers, or countless other jobs keeping us safe and healthy.

“This proclamation does not solve our economic problems or significantly aid U.S. workers. Instead, it sows division by promoting a view that immigrants should be viewed as competitors, undermines the trust we have in immigrants on the frontlines of the response, and will make it harder for the nation to come together to recover from COVID-19.

“Continuing to target immigrants amid the pandemic will only lead to people questioning the foreign-born workers who are on the front lines fighting this virus — leaving all of us more vulnerable.”

UPDATE (April 23, 1:20 PST):  Law professors Anil Kalhan and Peter Margulies have provided critical commentary on the President's proclamation.

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