Trump Immigration Ban Announcement Unleashes Confusion, Debunking, and Fury: ‘It’s Virtue Signaling, But as Racism’
President Donald Trump’s abrupt announcement via social media late on Monday night, that he was planning on temporarily banning immigration into the United States, set off a torrent of online fury, confusion, and charges of xenophobia.
Maggie Haberman, New York Times’ White House correspondent, added some context to the report, suggesting that Trump’s seemingly blanket announcement would, in fact, not be so broad-based, much like his much-touted Covid-19 China travel ban on Jan. 31, which included numerous, large loopholes.
Two sources familiar with this move say it will involve carve outs, has been drafted in conjunction w DHS in last few weeks. https://t.co/64eSYC4ysa
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) April 21, 2020
Thinking back on the extremely porous China “ban,” it’s worth waiting for specifics here. https://t.co/SXQPoN0HGi
— Rachel Morris (@RachelMorris) April 21, 2020
Notably, Trump’s sudden announcement came just two days after his former Attorney General, Jeff Sessions — whom Trump still loathes for having recused himself from the Russiagate investigation — called for almost the very same immigration ban on Fox News.
This week, I called on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY halt immigration to the United States until Americans are back to work. https://t.co/FBmHQVhtFO
— Jeff Sessions (@jeffsessions) April 18, 2020
But the logic behind Trump’s announcement escaped numerous pundits and political observers, some of whom pointed out the crucial role immigrant labor plays in the economy.
— Julián Castro (@JulianCastro) April 21, 2020
Immigrants comprise ~17% of America’s workforce
The same people screaming to end life saving stay-at-home orders to “save the economy,” will celebrate this order that further harms the economy & makes us no safer
It was never about the economy—& we still don’t have enough tests https://t.co/wesnk4cEJA
— Qasim Rashid for Congress (@QasimRashid) April 21, 2020
In fact, some noted that Trump’s apparent, sweeping ban flies in the face of his own administration’s current attempts at bringing in more foreign workers to help with the coronavirus pandemic.
The US is currently hiring workers from Mexico and Central America to provide an emergency food supply for Americans. https://t.co/2rhZbLFACq
— Kevin Sieff (@ksieff) April 21, 2020
— Dustin P. Walsh (@dustinpwalsh) April 21, 2020
The State Department has been practically begging immigrant healthcare workers to come here to help fight coronavirus and has been offering them emergency visa appointments https://t.co/5FOXKTizmm https://t.co/Paf7Lwfrww
— Evan Hill (@evanchill) April 21, 2020
Many of the rural states that want to reopen probably need seasonal workers, no? https://t.co/N4MJJDyUl2
— James Oliphant (@jamesoliphant) April 21, 2020
I don’t know exactly what this means (and let’s not kid ourselves, they might not either, if this happens at all), but ~ one-third of doctors are foreign born and that’s only the first and most obvious example of the problems you run into here
— Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) April 21, 2020
Others noted the contradictory message Trump was sending right now — that American businesses are more than ready for a return to normal, but that the country’s borders must be shut down to protect the frail economy.
As an immigrant to the US and as a journalist, I have the same single question: How does it make sense to end immigration / close the borders AND encourage states to open up at same time?
— Ryan Heath (@PoliticoRyan) April 21, 2020
How can he justify stopping all immigration globally because of the pandemic at the same time he’s suggesting it’s safe for states to start going back to work by May 1st or sooner? https://t.co/ms44oc8lEP
— Andrea Mitchell (@mitchellreports) April 21, 2020
Sensing a political stunt, many claimed this bombshell was merely an attempt to distract the press from his administration’s coronavirus response while shoring up support among his nativist base.
This is Trump broadcasting to the world that he is seeing erosion in his base from massively fumbling the pandemic response pic.twitter.com/76v4rAOw17
— Dan Pfeiffer (@danpfeiffer) April 21, 2020
Trump failed to take this crisis seriously from day 1. His abandonment of his role as president has cost lives. And now, he’s shamelessly politicizing this pandemic to double down on his anti-immigrant agenda.
Enough, Mr. President. The American people are fed up. https://t.co/pT5edXBIT5
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) April 21, 2020
Trump EO reax from @RepEliotEngel (D – NY – Chair, Hse Foreign Affairs Cmte.): “There are more coronavirus infections and more coronavirus deaths here in the United States than anywhere else on the planet. What exactly is ceasing immigration supposed to protect us from?” @NY1
— Jeevan Vittal (@JvittalTV) April 21, 2020
Unclear what this means when few would-be immigrants with work visas or student visas or what have you are able to travel to US ports of entry anyway. Strikes me as just more red meat for the far-right base. https://t.co/mJ3s41PFbZ
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) April 21, 2020
It’s virtue signaling, but as racism.
— Ishaan Tharoor (@ishaantharoor) April 21, 2020
As I’ve said before:
To someone as dumb as a bag of hammers, every problem looks like a nail. pic.twitter.com/YzFNwGcZbM
— Jon Cryer (@MrJonCryer) April 21, 2020
Holy shit https://t.co/3VPiMd7Osl
— Nahal Toosi (@nahaltoosi) April 21, 2020
Perhaps if the president were more interested in actually fighting the disease, rather than using it as a pretext to enact policies without congressional approval, we’d have more testing, and the enemy would be more visible. https://t.co/ac3NVL4CFz
— Robert Maguire (@RobertMaguire_) April 21, 2020
If I were a supervillain who hated America, I might try to hypnotize the nation of immigrants into thinking immigrants were economic parasites.
— James Pethokoukis (@JimPethokoukis) April 21, 2020
Oh hey look: a “completely different policy from the ‘goal: white ethnostate!’ policies Stephen Miller, Trump and the other ‘alt righters’ have been implementing from the first day the Trump administration got there …” ? https://t.co/KNhtcfXuqh
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) April 21, 2020
We are on Day 1200 give or take of the “temporary” Muslim ban. Temporary means something different to a xenophobe than it does to many. What executive order is next? https://t.co/1yKNZQzPtv
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) April 21, 2020
A few went for not-so-subtle snark…
they say Kim Jong Un is in critical condition. But he seems fine in this tweet https://t.co/6uK4qyc1aH
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 21, 2020
And, finally, there was the smart money assumption that what Trump tweets in one moment does not end up what Trump says he means later, which is altogether different from what his administration ends up actually doing.
The odds seem pretty good that at tomorrow’s press conference trump will be angrily denying that he ever tweeted out what purported to be an blanket ban on immigration.
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) April 21, 2020
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