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Immigration ban only serves Trump, not public health

Racism again used to advance political goals

A promised executive order by President Donald Trump, ostensibly in the response to the Covid-19 pandemic, is only his latest move to scapegoat immigrants for political gain. Trump says he plans to halt all immigration to the US for 60 days to prevent new cases being introduced and workers “being flown in” to take jobs. However, the ban would largely impact Legal Permanent Residents already in the country seeking to finalize the citizenship process. Really, this is an attempt to disenfranchise new Americans, to prevent them from getting access to their citizenship in time to vote against Trump’s racist agenda.

Trump has already done all he can to deny refugees their right to seek asylum. The bureaucracy to process immigration cases has ground to a halt as offices close to protect employees. And travel to the US has understandably fallen off sharply as well. Instead, the move only serves as another racist dog whistle to his base shifting blame to immigrants, distracting them from his slow and disjointed response to the crisis.

There are many things Trump could do to protect Americans and get them back to work. He could listen to his medical advisors and expand testing to finally get a grip on the scope of the spread of the virus. He could coordinate distribution of personal protective equipment rather than compete with states trying to supply their hospitals. And he could revise his executive order to make it easier for immigrants, many of whom are heroically working on the front-line in health care or food production, to get their citizenship.

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