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Immigration ban about more than just pandemic protection | Orlando Sentinel

By By NORMA HENNING, For Orlando Sentinel, On 29 April 2020, Read Original
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President Trump’s April 20 late night “No more immigration” tweet was a gift to his base. Now he’s followed up with a presidential proclamation that essentially fulfills his anti-immigrant agenda: it does away with family immigration. No more parents, adult children or siblings of U.S. citizens. No more spouses and children of green-card holders. Period. And this time, it doesn’t even matter what country they are from or which religion they practice. The Muslim ban was just a warmup.

Like the initial Muslim ban, this proclamation is only temporary … for 60 days, with extensions if the economic crisis lasts.

It will last.

The Muslim ban was supposed to give the new administration a chance to review the Obama administration’s lax vetting procedures. Years later, the ban has been whitewashed and expanded. Evidently this administration can’t get the vetting right either.

Some of the newly banned immigrants have been waiting for years — some for decades — for their number to come up. They followed the law — which has, to date, been the main talking point against the undocumented. “Do it right … get in line.” Well, these folks did.

After years of processing and thousands of dollars spent in fees, travel, doctors’ visits (yes, they are all health-checked) they are now banned because of high unemployment when statistics show that immigrants actually create more jobs than they take.

Do we have high unemployment right now? Of course we do. Is the proclamation legal? Probably. The Supreme Court upheld the Muslim ban that allows the President to exclude people from the United States as long as he articulates a reason that is not overtly discriminatory. The administration has learned and is making the most out of COVID-19 to advance their nativist agenda.

And how do we know that this is not about American workers? While paying them lip service, the proclamation fails to “ban” foreign employees for exactly the kinds of jobs that were lost in Florida: hospitality workers.

Country clubs and hotels will still have the ability to hire abroad. Large employers will still have a workforce kept in line with promises ​of green cards if they behave. So don’t worry, the country club crowd won’t feel a thing. Only the families that are now separated by this administration’s nativist ideology will feel the impact.

And while the unemployed workforce is told to fear that immigrants are taking their jobs, American industry is working overtime to automate – to get rid of “human resources” that get sick and take family leave.

This is not just an immigration issue. This is a class issue and one of economic equity, and to address it, we need to stop falling for lies pitting groups of workers against each other. Why hasn’t the greatest nation on earth fixed its immigration system? Because it works for large employers, who make campaign contributions — and so does automation. Working-class people better wake up and realize that we are all in the same boat.

Norma Henning is the Florida Government Relations Coordinator for the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

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