“Immigrants of all backgrounds are working to combat the COVID-19 crisis, including foreign-born physicians and DACA recipients serving in essential frontline worker roles.”
In late April the President tweeted that he would “be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.” The proclamation that followed invokes section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to impose a 60-day ban on the arrival of new immigrants through most family-based, employment-based, and diversity-based legal immigration channels.
While the initial order is temporary, the policy’s architects have stated it is part of a larger, long-term strategy to severely restrict legal immigration. Economic evidence suggests these measures would actually inflict further damage on the economy and hinder America’s coronavirus recovery.
The order wrongfully claims that immigration will hurt an economic recovery, despite all of the evidence to the contrary. Every serious economist agrees that immigrants and immigration are overwhelmingly positive for the U.S., driving job creation, economic growth, and boosting wages. In this moment, immigrants of all backgrounds are working to combat the COVID-19 crisis, including foreign-born physicians and DACA recipients serving in essential frontline worker roles as healthcare providers, food and grocery supply chain workers, and in vital sanitation jobs. All of this is occurring even while millions of tax paying immigrants and their families are barred from accessing recovery funds and coronavirus-related emergency relief.
Not surprisingly, the order doesn’t bother to present an economic argument. While the earlier “travel bans” made even a flimsy attempt to justify their existence, this order includes no citations, analysis, or discussion of economic concerns. It simply asserts that “we must be mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor,” with no explanation of what that impact actually is – which, again, economic authorities overwhelmingly agree is a net positive for the U.S. economy.