In another wild night of tweeting, Donald Trump said on Monday that he plans to temporarily stop immigration into the U.S. He indicated that he’ll sign an executive order soon, purporting that such a tough measure is in response to the coronavirus pandemic and its damaging effects on the U.S. economy. If finalized, the order will focus on closing off our borders to people hoping for job and visa applications to work and live in the U.S.
The move seems completely counterproductive to propelling the economy forward, given how heavily the U.S. relies on immigrant labor. The move will likely affect countless immigrants from Latin America, including those who are hoping to enter the country through means such as seeking asylum.
“In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens,” Trump wrote on Twitter, “I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
Many, like Julian Castro, are calling it “a dumb move.”
We don’t know too much about the developments around the order, but CNN reports that White House officials are working on a draft that will be shared within the next few days. Administration insiders told the outlet that the order will stop the processing of new green cards and work visas and that it might last a “temporary 120 days or so.” Already, the country has taken steps to slow down visas amid the pandemic.
Such an order would be in keeping with this administration’s disturbing hard-line on immigration. Trump has advocated to close down borders in order to keep undocumented immigrants out of the country and his advisors—among them Stephen Miller, the architect of many of the White House’s anti-immigration policies—have taken issue with the work-based immigration system, aggressively denying applications for H-1B visas for highly skilled immigrant workers. They’ve even suggested restrictive quotas on the number of immigrants from certain countries. Trump has not shared what legal basis he’ll claim to justify his pending executive order, The New York Times reports.
Safety measures taken as a result of COVID-19 have already resulted in difficulty for all Latin American migrants. Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that asylum hearings as part of the Migrant Protection Protocols would be postponed, meaning migrants waiting for asylum hearings in border cities would be stuck there indefinitely. Already, migrants have been struggling with limited food and money and a lack of access to basic resources.
A NYT op-ed noted that some migrant camps are at “the brink of becoming a humanitarian disaster.” Now, the chances that they’ll be able to enter the country seem even more unlikely.