In Pandemic, Trump Finds New Front Against Immigrants

The Trump administration’s latest measure is part of a broader exclusion of immigrant communities from the government’s COVID-19 response.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced an executive order halting immigration to the United States, citing the pandemic and economic anxiety.

“What the American economy needs right now is not to shut itself down from the rest of the world.” — Steve Tobocman, Global Detroit

The 60-day plan includes numerous exemptions and will not apply to those already living in the U.S. or those here on a work visa. Critics say that it’s the latest in a series of aggressive immigration measures by the administration, and could hint at longer term goals of reducing the number of immigrants allowed in the country.

Listen: How Trump’s Immigration Orders Will Affect Southeast Michigan


Gracie Xavier, Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative
Gracie Xavier, Michigan Global Talent Retention Initiative

Steve Tobocman, Executive Director of Global Detroit, says Trump’s latest executive order is confusing and more political theater than anything substantial.

“It really seems to be putting politics before policy,” Tobocman says. “And the reality is we’re not going to be able to scapegoat our way out of a global pandemic. It just makes no sense.”

He says the president is ramping up rhetoric against immigrants instead of dealing with the real crisis the country is facing.

“What the American economy needs right now is not to shut itself down from the rest of the world,” says Tobocman.

The stimulus checks issued as part of the CARES Act also excludes a substantial segment of the immigrant populations living in the United States. Tobocman says the exclusion of immigrant populations from the federal response to COVID-19 is going to inflict additional economic hardships on the immigrant community. 

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