If made permanent, the president’s restrictive executive order will choke off the supply of workers necessary to bounce back from the coronavirus.
President Trump’s new immigration restrictions are supposed to be temporary—only 60 days, according to the executive order he signed last month. But there are reasons to be skeptical, and they go beyond the fact that the coronavirus pandemic has given Mr. Trump a pretext for doing something he’s wanted to do since he descended that escalator in 2015 to announce his White House bid.
Historically, major health scares and severe economic downturns have resulted in significant changes to U.S. immigration law. With Covid-19 deaths still climbing by well over 1,000 a day and 30 million people already out of work, the nation’s border policies will be seen in an entirely new light. A Washington Post/University of Maryland survey taken after the president’s announcement found that 65% of respondents—including 83% of Republicans, 67% of independents and 49% of Democrats—support the suspension. So do at least 60% of whites, nonwhites, men and women.
Michael Hanmer of the University of Maryland, who co-directed the survey, told the Post: “One of the most surprising results is that majorities of 18- to 29-year-olds, who tend to be more open to immigration and have a more global perspective, support the proposal to block immigration.” Which is to say that large numbers of voters who disapprove of the president’s overall job performance—currently in the mid-40s—and won’t pull the lever for him in November nevertheless support him on immigration.
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