On Trump Administration’s Proclamation Temporarily Suspending Immigration  

Following is a statement from Rebecca Dixon, executive director of the National Employment Law Project:

“The National Employment Law Project (NELP) condemns President Trump’s proclamation to temporarily suspend immigration to the United States under the cynical and destructive pretext that it will stem the spread of coronavirus and protect workers. This proclamation is a distraction from the Trump administration’s incompetent and inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic—a response that has resulted in the deaths of more than 42,000 people, the most of any country in the world.

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“The Trump administration erroneously proclaims that immigrants are at fault for the state of our economy and will be at fault for a slow recovery, ignoring the reality of decades of profit-first, worker-last policy choices, including during formal recovery efforts. Racist narratives and policies that divide the country based on national status and work history harm the movement for worker justice. What we need instead are worker-first solutions.

“This economic crisis was a long time in the making; the inadequate pandemic response and proposed recovery efforts only deepen and accelerate harm for people who have long been failed by U.S. health, labor, and economic systems.

“From the executive office, to the Department of Labor, to OSHA . . . an administration genuinely interested in protecting jobs would ensure that the entire workforce is protected now and through recovery, including those most harmed: Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people, and immigrants of color of all statuses. This proclamation will have traumatic consequences for individuals and families waiting to be reunified with their loved ones.

“President Trump is using this pandemic to further a racist and harmful anti-immigrant agenda, which is based on the principles of white nationalism to curb all immigration, dehumanize immigrants, and divide a workforce that must be united in achieving rights and economic security for all. Intolerably, Latinx, Indigenous, and Black immigrants without work authorization are both overrepresented in the riskiest, lowest-paid industries and cruelly excluded from the overwhelming majority of formal, government-led relief efforts. This proclamation only furthers the harm.

“As a movement, we must continue to push government and employers to do better by workers. We must continue to build worker power in solidarity across difference in the face of this public health and economic crisis. NELP calls on elected officials to be in solidarity with the movement for worker justice and reject messages and actions that reduce this pandemic to racist tropes—and we call on them to move forward relief for the most impacted workers, foremost Black, Indigenous, and Latinx people, including immigrants.”

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