US Immigration Suspended: Donald Trump says he is temporarily suspending immigration | World News
The cryptic tweet convulsed prospective immigrants and immigrant families in the US and immigrant hopefuls and asylum seekers across the world who aspire for the so-called American dream, making the country the most powerful demographic magnet in the world. The United States admits about 1.1 million legal immigrants into the country every year, more than any other country. About 600,000 are new arrivals and about 500,000 are status adjustments of people already in the country.
The announcement also threw into turmoil the already-fraught careers and lives of more than three million guest workers and students – nearly a million from India — with its vague opacity. According to the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), nearly three out of four current H-1B visa holders (approximately 310,000 out of 420,000) are from India.
In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citi… https://t.co/4eufzv6Ng9
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) 1587434782000
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Some reports said administration officials are still working on the order and it will exempt those who are already in the US. But it was not clear what would happen to the hundreds of thousands who are already in the processing zone – graduating students applying for H-1B visas, and H-1B visa holders waiting for their permanent residency green cards to be processed. Trump’s tweet did not provide details on when the suspension would go into effect or how long it would last.
Although the tweet indicated the order he is considering would be temporary, critics saw the move as part of a gradual tightening of legal immigration into the country to freeze demographic changes, which many Republicans see as being electorally disadvantageous to them while favoring Democrats. A majority of new immigrant citizens have a Democratic persuasion and the Democratic Party itself is more diverse and immigrant-heavy.
Some others saw the move as Trump playing to his white conservative base in an effort to distract them from the messy economic situation the US finds itself in following the coronavirus pandemic. “Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from Day 1 and his abandonment of his role as president has cost lives,” California Senator Kamala Harris said, adding that “he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.”
This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavi… https://t.co/vi5OamXzYb
— Joaquin Castro (@JoaquinCastrotx) 1587437410000
Trump did not specifically mention the pandemic but the assumption is that his reference to the “Invisible Enemy” meant the coronavirus. Many saw the planned order as a ruse to completely shut down immigration completely, something his far right supporters have been demanding.
Others expressed concern that Trump was unfairly maligning immigrants and diminishing their frontline role during the pandemic. In fact, some reports indicate more minority and immigrant front-line responders are dying of coronavirus than native-born population. “President Trump now seeks to distract us from his fumbled COVID-19 response by trying to put the blame on immigrants. The truth is many immigrants are on our front lines, protecting us as doctors, nurses, health aids, farmworkers, and restaurant workers,” said New York Democrat Jerry Nadler.
Some critics also noted that far from immigrants bringing coronavirus to the US, the rest of the world feared Americans now, given that the US has the most Covid 19 infections in the world. Even if the virus came from outside, it has spread more widely and rapidly in the US than any other country and it is too late to shut the barn door. The United States currently has more confirmed coronavirus cases (800,000) and more deaths from it (42500) than any other country. One recent cartoon showed Mexicans building a wall on the southern border to stop Americans.
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“This is really funny, considering the corona death rate in the US is THREE TIMES anywhere else in the world. NOBODY is beating down the door to come here,” read one snarky tweet responding to the US President. Others posted memes showing Trump’s own immigrant origins, including the fact that his wife is an immigrant.
@realDonaldTrump .This is really funny, considering the corona death rate in the U.S. is THREE TIMES anywhere els… https://t.co/yCwdb7L7gX
— Mike Gilchrist (@mgcanmore) 1587437183000
In any case, with few flights into the United States and no protocol about how regular travel and tourism — much less the immigration process— would be resumed, no one is coming into America just now or is being processed for immigration, with the whole process functionally shut down. The State Department has suspended almost all visa processing for weeks now.
The White House has closed both the northern border with Canada and southern border with Mexico for all except essential workers, without whom the US would be toast. Tens of thousands of Mexicans commute from across the border each day for agriculture, construction, and manual labor, while Canada supplies US with health care workers.
Indeed, immigration forms the backbone of the US economy and constitutes the foundation of the country itself. More than a quarter of its healthcare workers, including doctors and nurses, are immigrants.
The US foreign-born population reached a record 44.4 million in 2017, and although today’s immigrant population share of 13.6 per cent remains below the record 14.8 per cent share in 1890 during the height of the immigration boom, many white conservatives fear that the US is being fundamentally changed by 21st century immigration from non-white countries that is expected to make white a minority by 2042.
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Trump himself is reported to have expressed preference for immigration from European countries such as Norway, even as he has shown marked hostility towards minority reporters amid his general antipathy towards journalists who do not meet his idea of fairness.
Trump far right supporters have embraced the President’s announcement, with some, like Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar urging him to suspend immigration “until every American who wants a job has one!” Arkansas’ Republican Senator Tom Cotton tweeted “22 million Americans have lost their jobs in the last month because of the China virUS Let’s help them get back to work before we import more foreigners to compete for their jobs.”
In Video:COVID-19: Immigration to US will be suspended temporarily amid pandemic, Donald Trump says