The “Golden Door” Is Closed

I find myself, perhaps shakily, standing with the Trump administration and the president’s executive order halting most permanent immigration to the U.S. for at least 60 days.

Surprised?

I tend to support law with a clear, meaningful purpose and common sense.

The federal law in this case seems to be clear and meaningful. It says the chief executive can suspend “alien” immigration if “their entry would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

That’s been used in wartime. And now we’re in a kind of war to contained this aggressive virus. About 460,000 foreign national new arrivals to the US became green card holders last year, down 13% from 2018 arrivals.

It does not make good sense to burden either consular officials overseas or health officials at all U.S. arrival portals with the testing of that many people at a time when we’re falling short on testing our own citizens and admit that we miss all those that are asymptomatic or immune carriers.

And this directive is only aimed at those seeking green card permanent residence. It permits temporary workers and the special visas for foreigners investing here and employing Americans.

I realize there are a couple of things which mitigate against this order being meaningful.

One is Donald Trump’s historical attitude about immigrants and how he’s used some Americans’ dislike of them as an election crutch. He once said he had no problem with good people such as Norwegians. And he’d made no secret of not wanting immigrants to take American jobs.

The other is our country’s history of invoking false reasons for banning immigration of those gaining too much of a presence here. It was used against Asian field and railroad workers when their number swelled.

And there’s no question this White House opposes all those asylum seekers from Central and South America.

These days, there’s lots of bad feelings in America about Muslims (their religion) and Hispanics (their numbers.)

But I don’t see my way clear to impute totally bad motives to Trump and his advisers with the corona virus sickening and killing. We’ve already basically shut down visa processing centers overseas.

I’ll get arguments pro and con on this one from people I respect — and some I don’t. Disagreement has started nationally.

“With tens of millions of Americans who want to work full-time unable to do so, most immigration at this moment makes no sense, and the President appears to be moving in the right direction to curtail it,” says Roy Beck, president of Numbers USA, which advocates for reduced immigration.

Andrea Flores, deputy policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Equality Division, slammed the anticipated order in a statement, saying, “Unfortunately, President Trump seems more interested in fanning anti-immigrant flames than in saving lives. We cannot allow President Trump to exploit this pandemic to advance his racism and xenophobia.”

Choose your side and take your shots in the comments tab.

Published by Bob Jones

Journalist since age 19. St. Petersburg Times, Noticias y Viajes in Madrid, Overseas Weekly in Frankfurt and Paris, the Louisville Courier- Journal, the Honolulu Advertiser, KGMB-TV, NBC News foreign correspondent in Africa and Southeast Asia, and MidWeek columnist. LL.B LaSalle University Law. 3 years in the U.S. Air Force. Covered: Biafran War in Nigeria (1968) Vietnam War (1969-73), Iraq in 1991. George Foster Peabody Award for distinguished journalism for reporting in China. 2 Emmys for documentaries. Married to journalist Denby Fawcett; one daughter. Brett Jones, foreign service officer, State Department.

2 replies on “The “Golden Door” Is Closed”

  1. The pandemic has changed our outlook. The virus thriving elsewhere is an unwelcome guest.
    If there is a major resurgence coming in the fall about to menace our lives and kill people we know and care about. No thanks to more incoming.

  2. There are many who would rush to call Trump racist and xenophobic if he said a complimentary word about Mother Theresa or Mahatma Gandhi. In fact many would accuse Theresa and Gandhi of the same crimes if they did not bash Trump.

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