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Policy Summary

The Trump Administration issued a proclamation (Proclamation 9994) to limit immigration into the US in the next 60 days. The justification given is that, due to the economic recession the US is bound to face in the aftermath of COVID-19, “aliens” will be taking jobs. This would not apply to US lawful permanent residents, spouses of US citizens, or immigrants entering the country to work as physicians, nurses, or other healthcare professionals. Stephen Miller, who has been leading the Trump Administration immigration agenda urged Trump’s followers to view this as a first step in the Administration’s longer-term goal of shrinking legal immigration. Though spouses of US Citizens are not affected by this, immigration by extended family members is supposed to be hindered. This Executive Order in practice is intended to disrupt “chain migration,” a term used by Conservatives to describe the arrival of one immigrant in the US making way for extended family to emigrate as well. 

In other immigration news, a federal judge recently pressed the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement ) to release migrants held in family detention centers as the hundreds of people who live in close quarters with limited access to soap and disinfectants are at imminent risk for contracting COVID-19. These detention centers are greatly at risk for an outbreak and rapid spreading to surrounding communities. Federal courts have cited the 1997 Flores Agreement that generally requires children detained at the border and kept in non-licensed facilities to be released within weeks. Many have claimed the Trump Administration has continued to violate longstanding agreements that compel the government to release detained migrant children

Analysis

Not unique to the US, the American government is utilizing the pandemic to implement its ongoing immigration agenda. As Stephen Miller transparently expressed, this is in light of COVID-19 but also a part of a wider immigration agenda that has been in place throughout the entirety of the Trump Administration.

By limiting immigration out of fear foreigners will take jobs Americans are believed to be entitled to, the supply chain could be severely affected in sectors of the American economy deeply dependent on immigrants, such as agriculture.

Engagement Resources

  • The National Immigration Law Center: an organization that exclusively dedicates itself to defending and furthering the rights of low income immigrants and strives to educate decision makers on the impacts and effects of their policies on this overlooked part of the population.
  • Border Network for Human Rights: network to engage education, organization and participation of border communities to defend human rights and work towards a society where everyone is equal in rights and dignity.
  • World Health Organization: the WHO provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and global responses
  • Center for Disease Control: the CDC provides updated information surrounding COVID-19 and the US responses
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