Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Corporate gatekeepers and big tech monopolists are making it more difficult than ever for independent media to survive. Please chip in today.

White House senior adviser Stephen Miller walks behind President Donald Trump as he talks to reporters before they depart the White House June 8, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

'Exploiting Coronavirus to Continue Their Nativist Agenda': Trump Tweets Plan to Suspend All Immigration to US

"This isn't about coronavirus or jobs. This is about this administration's hate for immigrants."

Jake Johnson

President Donald Trump declared in a tweet late Monday night that he intends to sign an executive order "temporarily" banning all immigration to the U.S. amid the Covid-19 outbreak, an announcement rights groups condemned as a shameful attempt to scapegoat immigrants that will do nothing to safeguard either Americans' health or jobs.

"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!" Trump wrote.The president did not provide a timeline for the order or any details as to how it would be implemented.

"Suspending immigration won't make the U.S.—which currently leads among COVID cases worldwide—safe. Our policies need to be grounded in public health, not bigotry."
—Charanya Krishnaswami, Amnesty International USA

Charanya Krishnaswami, Americas advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, said in response to Trump's tweet that "when you're a xenophobe, bans on migration are the only tired, failed, hateful solution you can think of."

"Suspending immigration won't make the U.S.—which currently leads among COVID cases worldwide—safe," said Krishnaswami. "Our policies need to be grounded in public health, not bigotry."

The New York Times, citing anonymous people familiar with the president's plan, reported that "a formal order temporarily barring the provision of new green cards and work visas could come as early as the next few days."

"Under such an executive order, the Trump administration would no longer approve any applications from foreigners to live and work in the United States for an undetermined period of time, effectively shutting down the legal immigration system," the Times noted. "Workers who have for years received visas to perform specialized jobs in the United States would also be denied permission to arrive, though some workers in some industries deemed critical could be exempted from the ban."

Immigrants make up a significant percentage of the U.S. workforce in a number of industries that are particularly crucial at this moment, from healthcare to agriculture.

Given that immigration to the U.S. has already been sharply curtailed by the Trump administration during the coronavirus crisis, observers said the president's announcement may be little more than an effort to rile up his base in an election season by attacking a vulnerable target.

"Immigrants are Trump's punching bag," said José Alonso Muñoz of United We Dream, "and honestly it's fucking exhausting."

The Intercept's Murtaza Hussain tweeted that Trump is "getting absolutely desperate trying to rally the base by 'banning immigration' during a period when the entire planet is shut down and almost no one even capable of immigrating."

"He's going to have keep upping the ante over the next six months in the face of pandemic misery," added Hussain.

The Trump administration has not hesitated to use the deadly coronavirus pandemic to advance longstanding right-wing policy goals—from union-busting rules to sweeping regulatory relief for the oil and gas industry—and critics said the president's tweet Monday night represents more of the same.

"This is Donald Trump and Stephen Miller's dream come true," said progressive advocacy group Indivisible, referring to the president's xenophobic senior adviser. "And yes, the cruelty is always the point. This isn't about coronavirus or jobs. This is about this administration's hate for immigrants."

Thomas Kennedy, a fellow at advocacy group Community Change, tweeted that Trump administration officials are "exploiting coronavirus to continue their nativist agenda."

"This is not going to help stop the spread of the virus," said Kennedy, "and it's going to reaaally hurt the economy."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

UN Agency Condemns 'Homophobic and Racist' Monkeypox Reporting

"Stigma hurts everyone," says one ranking UNAIDS official. "Shared science and social solidarity help everyone."

Brett Wilkins ·

'Tax the Rich,' Say Millionaire Activists Protesting at Davos Amid Record Wealth, Inequality

"As someone who has enjoyed the benefits of wealth my whole life I know how skewed our economy is and I cannot continue to sit back and wait for someone, somewhere, to do something," said one demonstrator.

Brett Wilkins ·

Rights Group Urges Civilian Safeguards as Biden Sends Troops Back to Somalia

"A culture of impunity for civilian loss breeds resentment and mistrust among the population and undermines efforts to build a more rights-respecting state," Human Rights Watch's regional director asserted.

Brett Wilkins ·

Australian Progressives Hail 'Greenslide' Amid Big Left Wins and Morrison's Ouster

"People have backed the Greens in record numbers and delivered a massive mandate for action on climate and inequality," said party leader Adam Bandt.

Brett Wilkins ·

Omar Leads Charge Against Baby Formula Monopolies Amid US Shortage

Democrats urge the FTC to probe "any unfair or unsustainable practices, like deceptive marketing, price gouging, and stock buybacks, that may be weakening our nutritional formula supply."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo