In an executive order, President Donald Trump on April 22, 2020 issued a proclamation suspending entry of immigrants who present risk to the U.S. labor market during the economic recovery following the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The ban is temporary for 60 days but can be extended at the whim of President Trump.
The order suspended for 60 days the entry of some green card applicants based abroad. However, there are several exemptions from the ban.
In his executive order, Trump said: “I have determined that, without intervention, the United States faces a potentially protracted economic recovery with persistently high unemployment if labor supply outpaces labor demand.
Excess labor supply affects all workers and potential workers, but it is particularly harmful to workers at the margin between employment and unemployment, who are typically “last in” during an economic expansion and “first out” during an economic contraction. In recent years, these workers have been disproportionately represented by historically disadvantaged groups, including African Americans and other minorities, those without a college degree, and the disabled. These are the workers who, at the margin between employment and unemployment, are likely to bear the burden of excess labor supply disproportionately.”
Evidently, Trump has excluded from the ban those immigrants who possess professional experience in the health care industry as well as wealthy investors who are applying for a visa to enter the U.S. pursuant to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, a popular venue used by rich Chinese entrepreneurs who want to immigrate to the U.S.
The EB-5 program provides a green card to a foreign national who invests at least $500,000 in a commercial enterprise that creates at least 10 U.S. jobs.
Currently, 32,169 Chinese nationals are in line for an EB-5 visa, and another estimated 17,368 are waiting for their petitions to be approved as of May 14, 2019.
But no exclusions exist for foreign national parents and parents of U.S. citizens, spouses and children of legal permanent residents and beneficiaries of the diversity visa program, known as the visa lottery. The administration and immigration restrictionists have sometimes referred to those groups as “chain migration.” Obviously, they are not welcome in the U.S., which have been constantly attacked by Trump since becoming president in 2016.
Senior White House adviser Stephen Miller reportedly told supporters in an off-the-record call that Trump’s temporary order to suspend immigration is part of a larger strategy to reduce overall immigration.
Miller has emphatically been very vocal about his plan to limit immigration. “The most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor” and that the temporary ban would limit “chains of follow-on migration,” he said. He portrayed the order as an “historic” move to protect American workers from undue foreign competition.
After the executive order was announced, immigration advocates argued that it had all the markings of Miller’s influence.
Who is Stephen Miller?
In my column, “20 U.S. million immigrants could face deportation” (August 24, 2018), I said: “Stephen Miller is Trump’s 32-year old senior policy advisor, speechwriter, anti-immigration policy chief, and right-hand troll. A known provocateur, Miller is a white nationalist who supports rightwing, white supremacist, and alt-right causes. An observer once described him as someone who “likes getting a rise out of people in a very sociopathic way.
“In his job in the White House, Miller developed policies such as the barring of individuals from Muslim majority countries, cuts to legal immigration, family separation, and the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He used his influence in the White House to subvert bipartisan legislation that would have provided permanent protections for “Dreamers.”
Dreamers are the young people – mostly Hispanic – who benefitted from former President Barack Obama’s DACA executive order when the DREAM Act — Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors — failed to pass in Congress several times. In September 2017, Trump rescinded DACA that has kept nearly 800,000 young immigrants from deportation since 2012. Recently, he fashioned Trump’s controversial ‘Zero Tolerance Policy’ that forcibly separated migrant children from their parents at the US-Mexico border. And now, Miller’s ultimate dream of ridding the country of immigrants is about to become a reality.
“But Miller seems to be running away from reality in regard to his family roots. His uncle David Glosser, a retired neuropsychologist and Miller’s uncle on his mother’s side, said that Miller’s great-great-grandfather Wolf-Leib Glosser left the village of Antopol in what is now Belarus amid “violent anti-Jewish pogroms” there and came to the US. He landed on Ellis Island in 1903 and within a few years was able to bring over the rest of his family.
“’I have watched with dismay and increasing horror as my nephew, who is an educated man and well aware of his heritage, has become the architect of immigration policies that repudiate the very foundation of our family’s life in this country,’ Glosser wrote.
“Miller’s master plan is to deport immigrants – legal and illegal – based on what he believed are ‘violations’ of immigration laws. His rulemaking proposal targets legal immigrants (green card holders) in the U.S. who have used or whose household members have used the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or Obamacare, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Food Stamp and other social programs, including the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for the aged. For participating in these social programs, illegal immigrants could be hindered from obtaining legal status, while legal immigrants’ application for citizenship could be imperiled. In both cases, ‘violators’ could be deported. Those hardest hit are immigrants, mostly people of color, who are working in low-paying jobs that are not enough to support their families.
“The crux of the matter is in a document called ‘affidavit of support,’ which is required of all sponsors to execute. Basically, it is a document an individual (sponsor) signs to accept financial responsibility for another person (new immigrant), usually a relative, who is coming to the United States to live permanently. An affidavit of support is legally enforceable; the sponsor’s responsibility usually lasts until the family member or other individual either becomes a U.S. citizen, or can be credited with 40 quarters of work (usually 10 years). [Source: US Citizenship and Immigration Services]
“The anti-immigrant blueprint designed by Miller and his white nationalist cohorts in the Trump administration first came to fruition in the early months of the Trump presidency. The White House is currently reviewing the draft and once Trump approves it, it will be published in the Federal Register; thus, making it a law of the land.
“One of the groups that would be hardest hit by Miller’s anti-immigration initiative are elderly immigrants who were sponsored by their children under the Family Reunification law, which Trump refers to as ‘chain migration.’ Since a majority of them were admitted to the U.S. in their senior years, they don’t have Social Security benefits and therefore don’t have any earnings or income. As such, they would qualify to receive SSI benefits. In addition, SSI is also used to help blind and disabled people, who have little or no income. It also provides cash to meet basic needs for food, clothing, and shelter.
“The Family Reunification law allows the immigration of ‘immediate relatives’ of US citizens, which is not subject to any annual visa numerical limits. Immediate relatives are: (1) Spouses and unmarried children of US citizens; (2) Parents of US citizens; and (3) Widows, widowers, and children of deceased US citizens.
“Another anti-immigration policy that Miller has been working on is ‘chain migration.’ On January 8, 2018, The Hill reported: ‘Miller pushed the White House message on immigration reform, calling for a border wall and an end to ‘chain’ migration, the process by which an immigrant can petition to bring family members to the United States, as well as the adjustment of the country’s visa lottery system.’ But didn’t Miller realize that it was chain migration that made it possible for his family to enter the U.S. beginning in 1903?
Finally, Miller has achieved his dream of banning immigrants of all colors and stripes – with the exception of wealthy and health care professionals – with one stroke of the Trump’s pen. It’s the crowning moment of Miller’s ascendancy as the country’s “Top Immigrant Basher,” a dream come true. Unfortunately, he achieved such inglorious accolade over the one million suffering American victims of COVID-19 and 60,000 dead (3 million+ cases and 200,000+ deaths worldwide), which has triggered horrible memories of the Holocaust among the aging survivors of the World War II pogroms.