April 23, 2020
The Impacts of the COVID-19 Immigration Suspension
Yesterday President Trump signed an executive order that suspends immigration by halting new green card issuances for 60 days. The order is more limited than anticipated, however, as it exempts nearly 70 percent of all applicants. Even with the exemptions, the justification for the suspension is misguided, contends Director of Immigration and Trade Policy Jacqueline Varas. The suspension is also unlikely to have any positive impact on the public’s health or the economy, she notes.
The president’s immigration suspension is limited in scope, applying to only 32 percent of green card applicants. Even with these limitations, it is based on faulty reasoning. Contrary to the president’s claims, immigrants generate additional economic activity that fuels economic growth. Without vital foreign-born workers in agriculture, health care, and technology industries, the U.S. economic recovery will suffer – realities reflected in the exemptions to the immigration ban itself. Moreover, the order’s potential for expansion, both in its duration and scope, could prove to be significantly harmful to the United States.