HomeAsian AmericansAnalysis: Trump's "pause" on immigration, could be a step to further limits

Analysis: Trump’s “pause” on immigration, could be a step to further limits

Stephen Miller

Views from the Edge

Donald Trump used the coronavirus pandemic as a cover for his racist goal of limiting immigration to the US when he signed an executive order shutting the door on all immigrants waiting for a visa to come to the US to pursue the opportunities the country has to offer.



The temporary 60-day “pause,” is a step in Trump’s overall goal of ensuring the top social, economic and political power and privilege is reserved for the white majority since the day  European refugees, treasure seekers and adventurers began taking land from the indigenous peoples of the Americas.


To be sure, no administration official stated those goals in such blunt language, but that was the essential message from Stephen Miller, the chief policy advisor of Trump’s immigration agenda, when he spoke on a conference call with a group of like-minded allies Thursday (April 23), according to the New York Times.


Others didn’t mince words.


Trump is “using a pandemic to stoke xenophobia and encourage more anger, all to change the conversation away from his failed coronavirus response,” said California’s Rep. Judy Chu, chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.



“Banning immigration does not produce more masks or protective equipment. It does not improve testing. And it does not help our supply lines, where immigrants are disproportionality essential. The President should stop playing politics and instead focus on the policies our country needs to weather this crisis,” continued Chu.


Trump’s decision to suspend immigration because of the coronavirus is the beginning of a broader strategy to reduce the flow of foreigners into the the country Stephen Miller, whose past emails reveal his belief in white supremacist values, told a group of conservative allies on Thursday.
“The first and most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor — mission accomplished — with signing that executive order,” Miller told, according to an audio recording of the conference call obtained by The New York Times.


For 60 days, US embassies would stop issuing green cards to would-be immigrants. That would have a severe impact on some Asian countries such as The Philippines and India, which have decades-long waiting lists for the coveted visa.


In order to make the order more palatable to the anti-immigrant but pro-business listerers on the other end of the call, the mandate would exclude those workers who are considered “essential” in fighting the coronavirus pandemic.


That would mean doctors and nurses could still come to the US to care for Covid-19 patients; but it also means farm workers needed to harvest the produce, cut up the meat, raise the chickens would also be allowed into the US.


“Millions of immigrants are currently risking their lives in front line jobs during this crisis to keep our country safe. For instance, immigrants make up 27.9% of doctors and surgeons in the U.S. and 23.8% of the nurses and home aides,” said Chu. 



The definition of “essential” is open to wide interpretation. Fox News’ Ainsley Earhardt, co-host for the right-wing Fox & Friends, will apparently be allowed to keep her immigrant au pair, because her job is “essential” in disseminated the conservative ideology of Fox and Trump.
Trump disguised his anti-immigrant rule as a benefit to the record-number of unemployed due to the stay-at-home policies put in place by several governors to fight the spread of the virus.


“It would be wrong and unjust for Americans laid off by the virus to be replaced with new immigrants — labor flown in from abroad,” Trump said. “We must first take care of the American worker — take care of the American worker.”


But Miller made it clear that the temporary order could be expanded to include more job classifications and depending on how long the coronavirus continues to plague the US way of life, the order could be extended.

He pointed out that by implementing the “pause,” the policy would stop what conservatives call “chain migration,” wherein immigrants can apply for relatives to join them in the US. Family reunification has been a key element of the 1965 Immigration Reform Law that did away with the immigration policies that favored immigrants from European countries.
“When you suspend the entry of a new immigrant from abroad, you’re also reducing immigration further, because of the chains of follow-on migration that are disrupted,” Miller said on the recording as reported by the NY Times. “So the benefit to American workers compounds with time.”


“Congress designed our immigration system around the value that families deserve to be together, and family-based immigration is responsible for many of the strong, vibrant, and diverse Asian American communities today,” said Asian American Advancing Justice in a statement.


“As 92% of Asian Americans are immigrants or the children of immigrants, Asian American communities will be greatly impacted by this ban. US citizens and lawful permanent residents will not be able to reunify with their parents, adult children, and siblings.”


“Trump’s new immigration ban is an attempt to distract from his failed response to COVID-19 and manipulates the pandemic to justify his and Stephen Miller’s white nationalist agenda,” the AAAJ statement continued. 

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