Courtesy of The White House

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump has issued an executive order that pauses immigration and the issuance of green cards for 60 days. It should be clear that Trump’s actions are not to protect the job market or the country from the disease. The president’s true intentions are merely to distract the public from his administration’s awful handling of the pandemic, in addition to strengthening his anti-immigration base to appeal to his predominantly white voters

The purpose of Trump’s executive order is to bar immigrants from receiving green cards and undergoing naturalization as COVID-19 continues to sweep the nation. This policy prohibits outsiders from coming into the United States and requesting green cards, as well as people trying to obtain green cards through family members who are citizens or because of extraordinary ability. However, there are exceptions with strict parameters. While many people are restricted from sponsoring a child or spouse, those under 21 are still able to receive a green card. In addition to this, healthcare workers are also exempt as long as their children are under 21 as well. 

These unreasonable parameters make it so that it is nearly impossible for individuals who do not fall completely under these categories to come to the United States. Those who try to immigrate under H1-B visas — which allows for foreign workers to be temporarily employed in the U.S. — can now only do so with an investment of $900,000, which is a lot to ask from a person considering the current economy.

What is ironic, however, is that although all of these individuals are to be affected by this order, tourists remain untouched. This part of the order is contradictory to everything else, and it is confusing as to who the Trump administration is trying to protect. Another notable hole in this order is that an immigration hold was already set in place before this executive order was announced. This executive order is just reiterating what has already been done. This dissonance puts into question the actual intent of his decision. 

In all likelihood, this is another political game for Trump to exercise his method of reelection. The power of Trump’s base in the 2016 election stemmed from his desire to build a wall and ban Muslims from entering the country. As a result, with the next election coming up, he sees this as another opportunity to bolster his coalition with yet another attack against immigrants and minorities.

In addition to fueling his reelection agenda, Trump is also using this order to scapegoat immigrants for the pandemic due to the administration’s poor handling of it. This was clear from the start, as he began addressing the virus as the “Chinese virus.” All of this blame is to steer the public’s scrutiny away from his administration. Unfortunately, Trump had the chance to mitigate the COVID-19 problem in the United States before everything went wrong, but he kept dismissing the issue and ignoring advice based on scientific findings from experts. By the time he did acknowledge the issue, it was too late. The United States had become No. 1 in confirmed cases, showing how the administration failed to keep the country safe.

With the harsh reality of a faulty administration unable to assist in a global crisis, Trump looked for an easy way out by issuing this executive order. This executive order does not protect the job market in the slightest; instead, it is just an excuse to avoid criticism over how the virus was initially dealt with. 

This order bullies immigrants and hurts more families. The order states that existing immigrants with pending visas will be unfit for use during the recovery from the pandemic, because they are “detrimental” to the interests of the United States. This statement proves that this policy is meant to hurt innocent people who are just trying to seek a home in this country. The novel coronavirus is out of everyone’s control, yet the Trump administration is using it to punish immigrants. 

People need to recognize that this is doing nothing but helping the Trump administration distract the public from what really matters. Citizens need to open their eyes and see that this is a cover-up for the many failures that took place with the administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The president is taking advantage of a national crisis for his own personal gain instead of setting an example for the country and future leaders.