For the next two months, immigration will be limited to people who are applying for a job that would help in the aftermath of COVID-19, those who are married to U.S. citizens, and anyone under the age of 21 hoping to reunite with their parents here. With so many people losing their jobs during the crisis, the president said his reason for cutting back on immigration is to help American citizens get back to work as soon as the Coronavirus lockdown is over.
The president first tweeted his announcement, but he later described his motivation for making the proclamation at a White House press briefing “It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrant labor flown in from abroad,” he said.” We must first take care of the American worker.” He continued, “I want the American worker and our American citizens to be able to get jobs. I don’t want them to compete right now.”
Critics of the president say he is using the Coronavirus crisis to limit migration in the long term. The executive director of the National Immigration Forum, Ali Noorani, wrote in response to the move:
“This is not about the policy. It is about the message the president wants to send. He wants people to turn against ‘the other.’ And, regardless of the valuable contributions immigrants are making to the response and recovery, he sees immigrants as the easiest to blame.”
Whether this presidential proclamation will help Americans to find new jobs or his critics are correct and he is playing politics, only one thing remains certain: When the crisis is over, the only way the American economy will recover is for Americans to get back to work.