Trump Wants To Suspend Immigration Into The U.S. During The Pandemic

by Christina Marfice
.S. President Donald Trump takes questions at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House on A...
Tasos Katopodis/Getty

In a tweet, the president claimed an executive order banning all immigration would protect American jobs

With the coronavirus pandemic still raging around the world, many borders remained closed, and international travel, while not outright banned in most cases, remains highly inadvisable. In the U.S., Donald Trump has already banned most flights from China and Europe. And now, in a tweet, he said he would sign an executive order placing a blanket ban on immigration to protect American jobs during the pandemic crisis.

“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!” he tweeted. The president offered no other context or details in his tweet. The White House also declined to elaborate on the message, so we really don’t know what that executive order would look like or what programs it might affect.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. visa processing has already been suspended for weeks, the Associated Press reported. That includes immigrant visas, so it’s also unclear how an executive order from the president banning immigration would change anything right now. On Monday, the administration extended a March 20 order from the CDC that bans anyone from entering the country without authorization. That has effectively halted asylum seekers from entering the U.S. during the crisis.

There are also still bans in place that prevent anyone who isn’t a U.S. resident from traveling to the country from China or Europe. The president likes to tout those bans that he put in place early on in the pandemic, but he has not extended similar travel bans to any other countries where coronavirus cases are now being reported in similarly high numbers.

Basically, an executive order banning immigration wouldn’t change anything. Not only is the tweet unclear, but it seems like a baseless play to rile up the president’s anti-immigrant base. Not a surprising move by the president, but he should definitely focus on something more important during a literal global health crisis.

Trump is well-known for his attempts to restrict immigration. Early in his presidency, his ban on travel from a number of Muslim countries came under serious fire. His “build the wall” chants are still popular at rallies. This tweet should come as no surprise to any of us, even as we struggle to figure out what it even means.