Commentary on the President's
Proclamation Limiting Legal Immigration
On April 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation limiting legal immigration to the United States for a period of 60 days. Although the proclamation exempted nonimmigrant visa holders and EB-5 immigrant investors, many forms of family migration, as well as the Diversity Visa Program, were halted -- long-standing objectives of the Trump administration. Upon recommendations from the Secretaries of Labor and Homeland Security, the President may broaden coverage of the proclamation and extend it beyond 60 days. The President's action has triggered a spate of criticism. Here is a selection of comments:
The Trump administration has used the COVID-19 crisis to rewrite immigration law without passing a bill through Congress.
Stuart Anderson, Executive Director, National Foundation for American Policy
The President's immigration ban is backed by zero analysis of its effect by recognized labor economists...no research estimating its short-term effects on employment. No research estimating its long-term effects on the American Economy.
Michael Clements, Director, Center for Global Development
Trump's proclamation will block relatively few immigrants from Western Europe, Canada, and Australia, while blocking relatively more immigrants from Asia, Africa, Central America, and Eastern Europe.
Boundless blog, April 22, 2020
The impulse to close immigration to protect jobs for American citizens is known as the
lump of labor fallacy,
which is a fundamental misconception that there is a fixed amount of work in a society. Believers in this fallacy apply it to immigration by arguing that any job held by an immigrant could be held by an American citizen, but this just simply isn't true.
Alex Nowrasteh, Cato at Liberty, April 22, 2020
Having more immigrants
the unemployment rate and
the labor force participation rates of U.S. natives within the same sex and education group...Immigrants may boost consumer demand, start their own businesses, and reduce offshoring of manual-labor intensive jobs in the U.S.
Madeline Zavodny, Professor of Economics, University of North Florida
There's little immigration happening right now anyway...But what about when America reopens? Will it also reopen to immigrants? Trump's tweets send a double damaging message: Immigrants are both a health risk and an economic risk. But that's no way to characterize one of America's great national assets and competitive advantages
James Pethokoukis, American Enterprise Institute, Blog, April 21, 2020
COVID-19 is projected to result in one of the largest economic downturns in history, both for the United States and the global economy, and it may be years before the U.S. economy fully recovers. Cutting the United States off from immigration for a significant period of time -- especially if the president expands the suspension to encompass additional green card applicants and temporary workers that fuel integral sectors of the labor market -- will put the U.S. economy even more at risk.
Jacqueline Varas, Director of Immigration and Trade Policy, American Action Forum