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“A Xenophobe’s Dream” – Under the Cover of the Pandemic, Trump Administration Goes for Broke Advancing Anti-Immigrant Policies

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Trump Chooses Politics & Ideology over Public Health and Safety Every Time

Max Boot’s newest syndicated column describes how the Trump administration “is not letting the coronavirus crisis go to waste … in the name of protecting America from the coronavirus, Trump has been able to achieve a xenophobe’s dream.”

According to Pili Tobar, Deputy Director of America’s Voice:

The Trump administration has been using the cover of the pandemic to advance a host of draconian anti-immigrant and anti-immigration  policies, many of which they have long pursued but had been previously unable to enact. But through new emergency powers and the cynical exploitation of public health concerns, Stephen Miller and President Trump are going for broke and circumventing Congress, the law, and basic concern for humanity in the process. It’s harming kids, trampling on the law, and coming at the opportunity cost of a full-bore focus on pandemic response and containment.

Take a look at just the past few days’ worth of immigration policy developments to see real-time examples of the cynical, exploitative cruelty being advanced in our name:

  • Health experts condemn use of public health laws to advance nativist policies: Priscilla Alvarez of CNN highlights a letter released yesterday from more than two dozen public health experts who condemned the Trump administration for using public health laws “as a pretext for overriding humanitarian laws and treaties that provide life-saving protections to refugees seeking asylum and unaccompanied children.” The CNN piece quoted from Monette Zard of Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, who said: “It’s not looking like a genuine response to Covid and more like immigration policy in another guise.”
  • Rushing the deportations of migrant children back to danger and without due process. In the Los Angeles Times, Molly O’Toole profiles a 16-year old girl from Guatemala whose story shows how, “under the cover of the coronavirus, Trump officials are targeting unaccompanied migrant minors for deportation even as lawyers fight to force their release to relatives in the U.S. who have applied to sponsor them.” Lomi Kriel further explores the subject in a disturbing investigation jointly from ProPublica and the Texas Tribune.
  • Expanding “temporary” restrictions that eviscerate asylum and shut the border. As expected, the Trump administration will extend current border restrictions, tying the measures to the pandemic. But as a recent New York Times report detailed, “what has been billed by the White House as an urgent response to the coronavirus pandemic was in large part repurposed from old draft executive orders and policy discussions” led by Stephen Miller.
  • Restarting family separations and implementing a horrific “Sophie’s Choice” for migrant parents. As we highlighted yesterday, the Trump administration has reinstituted family separations and started to force migrant parents into making a “Sophie’s Choice” of choosing separation from their children or having their kids indefinitely detained with them in jail-like conditions – where COVID-19 infection risks are high.
  • USCIS’s $1 billion debt due to deliberate plan, not the pandemic. As a new DHS Watch piece details, the more than $1 billion debt of USCIS should be understood as part of the Trump Administration’s deliberate plan to permanently damage our legal immigration and naturalization system.