From denying DACA applications to forcing meat-packing plants to remain open, Trump has targeted immigrants even more so since the start of the pandemic.
President Donald Trump’s anti-immigration agenda began way before his 2016 election. In the summer of 2015, Trump hurled offensive assaults against Mexicans and the Latino community when he referred to them as “rapists” and “criminals.” His anti-immigration plan preceded him into the White House and did not let up — but only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.
When Trump finally acknowledged that COVID-19 was on American soil, he revved up his anti-immigration agenda. Instead of focusing on his COVID-19 response — which has led to more than 4 million infected and almost 150,000 deaths — the president has attempted to thwart immigrant lives.
“There have been many anti-immigrant moves in 2020 that are guised as measures to respond to the pandemic but have nothing to do with protecting American health or creating jobs for Americans,” attorney Sophie Alcorn, founder of Alcorn Immigration Law, said in an interview with The Americano. “This is basically just the excuse that the administration needed to justify many xenophobic and racist anti-immigrant measures that they’ve been waiting for the excuse to unleash. It’s based on racism and political gain with vulnerable voters in the upcoming election.”
Here’s a list of policies that the Trump administration introduced starting in March — the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
- March 13: The government suspended routine visa services at U.S. consulates.
- March 16: Despite legal measures to release undocumented immigrants from detention centers to prevent the spread of COVID-19, ICE forced them to clean the facilities using extremely toxic supplies.
- March 17: Immigration hearings postponed and some immigration courts were shut down.
- April 13: The first stimulus relief fund excluded millions of immigrants, even though undocumented immigrants pay billions in taxes.
- April 22: The government announced the suspension of green cards and visas.
- April 28: Trump signed an executive order to keep meatpacking plants open during the height of the pandemic. The majority of workers are Latinos and have since gotten sick with the coronavirus.
- June 22: Trump suspended thousands of guest worker visas until the end of the year.
- June 25: Due to budget cuts, closures, and employee furloughs, a backlog of immigrants waiting to become legal citizens grows immensely.
- June 25: The Supreme Court sided with the Trump administration and rules asylum seekers have no right to a hearing before a judge due to the coronavirus.
- July 6- 14: Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced international students must leave the country if they’re only taking online courses. The government later dropped this policy after universities sued them.
- July 15: The Trump administration attempted to deny DACA applications. The Supreme Court ruled the government must continue to process and approve applications.
- July 16: At least four states agreed to release license information from immigrants/undocumented people and giving it to the government.
- July 20: The Trump administration announced it is seeking to omit undocumented immigrants from the census.
Alcorn said the government’s push to reopen amid a pandemic, not providing basic protection for essential workers — many of whom are Latino — further shows how the Trump administration does not care about immigrants.
“This is another hypocritical and racist tactic that jeopardizes the health of essential workers,” Alcorn said. “Let’s face it, there’s probably a large chance that many of these individuals that are vulnerable and essential workers are undocumented. Doing this is further evidence of their financial exploitation goals by the administration that are completely without regard of human life or human safety.”