The Trump Administration faced criticism in recent weeks after the proclamation to temporarily suspend immigration during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Strict travel bans have already been put in place from Europe, China and other heavily affected countries.
Among many other allegations, President Donald Trump has been accused of using the pandemic as a means to finally fulfill his wish to completely seal off the United States to immigrants.
While many of the Trump Administration’s decisions and actions have been questionable or extreme, this is not one of them.
Alex Nowrasteh, the director of immigration studies at the Cato Institution, said to the Washington Post, “The president has been opposed to legal immigration for his entire administration. This is an opportunity to close it down entirely, and this is about as legitimate as you can get in terms of a broad justification for doing so."
This is about the safety of our country and its citizens. This is not a permanent ban on immigration or a ploy to eventually get us there. The United States currently is the most infected country in the world with the most confirmed cases by a landslide, according to The Post. We are currently at 780,000 confirmed cases and counting, and more than 55,000 deaths. The U.S. is in absolutely no condition to allow immigrants into the country, for everyone’s safety.
Opinion columnist John Harris argues that the United States should move away from housing convicted criminals in prisons toward house arrest to encourage rehabilitation, avoid the spread of the coronavirus and save federal dollars.
This is uncharted territory for everyone, including the president, whose priority is the safety of U.S. citizens. The entire world is on halt, so why should the issuance of green cards remain the same for the time being?
According to Vox, “immigrants living abroad, including the family members of green card holders and adult children of U.S. citizens, won’t be granted green cards for a period of 60 days unless they are seeking to enter the U.S. to perform an essential job in the health care sector.”
This situation goes far beyond the notion of keeping immigrants out, it is a matter of safety.
Visa holders and family members under the age of 21 will still be able to remain in the U.S. as well as those who wish to perform essential work or “to perform research or research intended to combat the spread of COVID-19,” according to White House officials.
There is no denying that families and individuals will be greatly affected, as painful as that is; however, the reality of the situation is not pretty, and my heart aches for those whose families will be affected by the new implications.
Still these restrictions will help combat a perhaps larger issue: unemployment. Last week, CNN reported another 4.4 million Americans filed for unemployment, marking a record high.
The temporary ban is not only being put in place to preserve the health of U.S. citizens, but it is also to preserve the unemployment crisis that this pandemic leaves in its place. There is no easy way of handling the situation that the world is in right now.
The main priority is, and should be, safely and responsibly flattening the curve. Decisions will be made that will not always be widely received. The entire world is under attack by this “invisible enemy,” and there is no perfect solution to fix it except trial and error.
At the end of the day, this ghastly virus affects each and every person one way or another. Sacrifice is necessary to win this war and to once again make the country a safe place to live.
Haley Czuma is a senior from Chicago studying English.