Last week, President Donald Trump made an announcement via Twitter just about no one saw coming: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!” By Wednesday the proclamation had been signed, and just like that, immigration into the United States, with some exceptions, was put on pause.
More specifically, the order places a two-month suspension on green cards for immigrants outside the United States who are not already in possession of valid immigrant visas. Just before the 60 days are up, the president will have to decide whether to continue or make changes to the order. Now, if you only read the headlines written by prominent liberal pundits, you would think hyper-nativist thinking had infected the president and that America no longer would serve as port of refuge for the tired, the poor and the huddled masses yearning for freedom.
But anyone who actually bothers to read the text of the proclamation cannot but help find its reasoning sensible and its prescriptions moderate. Noting that nearly 30 million Americans were unemployed, the president states it is precisely now that we “must be mindful of the impact of foreign workers on the United States labor market, particularly in an environment of high domestic unemployment and depressed demand for labor.” Put another way, this is not, as many liberals would have it, coming from a place of xenophobia. Rather, what the administration is trying to do is to best position our out of work friends and families to reclaim their jobs as soon as our economy starts to open up. Every country in the world is making similar adjustments.
Immigration, legal or otherwise, will always remain a hot-button issue for Americans. Every schoolchild learns the old saw that we are a nation of immigrants. And it’s all true — and to our everlasting credit and prosperity. But relatedly, and this to our everlasting detriment, financial and otherwise, we seem to have an inability to think dispassionately about immigration in the modern era.
In this respect, the United States is, rather perversely, unique in its blithe mindset of acceptance for all, irrespective of checkered backgrounds. In the West, Europe is now becoming more clear-sighted about the perils of unmitigated open borders. The Middle East and Far East have always understood the dangers.
So, when the president quite prudently halts some classes of immigration, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, called it a “distraction from his failure on testing.” Rep. Ilhan Omar and Elizabeth Warren labeled the president a xenophobe. Former Vice President Joe Biden termed the rhetoric “incendiary.” These are just the leading figures in the Democratic Party. Other well-known progressives used adjectives one does not print in a family newspaper.
The reaction from the left does not come exactly as a surprise, though that should not prevent us from calling out and condemning their reactions. To put this in as stark terms as possible, in a financial crisis rivaling the Great Depression, and young Americans facing an economic future filled with long-term pain, Democrats would rather decry policies intended to help the American worker than assist the president in finding creative solutions to a national nightmare.
In a certain respect, we should be grateful that policy lines are being drawn this starkly in the months leading to the election. If the Democratic presumptive nominee, Mr. Biden, is elected, it is safe to presume China will face no consequences for its actions, our borders will be opened for all to enter and American workers will find themselves an afterthought. Conversely, if President Trump is re-elected one may presume he will feel emboldened to further pursue policy measures intended to protect the American worker. One might also hope he — and the world — hold China to account.
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