Trump is blaming America’s unemployment woes on job-stealing immigrants, but his proposed ban on immigration would hurt the US economy rather than protect it.
US President Donald Trump’s proposed ban on immigration could severely hurt the American technology sector as a number of Silicon Valley workers are foreign-born.
Trump claims his temporary ban on immigration would benefit Americans who have found themselves unemployed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. By cutting off the flow of foreign workers, unemployed Americans will be able to get back on their feet, according to Trump’s philosophy.
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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 21, 2020
The executive order, if signed into law, is not expected to apply to farmworkers and healthcare workers or affect legal immigrants already in the US.
Discouraging incoming tech talent
“This will definitely impact immigration movements into the IT sector in the US from India and China, being two countries with large migration numbers globally, ” BBC quoted Latha Olavatth, an immigration specialist for Newland Chase, as saying.
“China and India also have other business sectors where the ban will impact their movements to the States, further crippling trade and the economy adversely.”
Some of the world’s major tech giants such as Google and Facebook are based in California’s Silicon Valley, but Trump’s immigration ban would push foreign tech talent to remain in their home countries or search for jobs in other hubs such as Seoul and Beijing, where innovation thrives.
Tech immigrants looking to move to North America have already set sights on Canada, where the immigration policy is more liberal and the technology sector is flourishing.
While in office, Trump has worked to restrict legal and illegal immigration. He has cut the number of refugees and asylum-seekers accepted into the US and relentlessly pushed for the construction of a wall along the southern border with Mexico. He has also introduced new grounds for rejecting visa applicants, such as the public charge rule, and even issued tighter restrictions on temporary visas for business and tourism.
Despite Trump’s attempts to curb immigration, issuances of high-skilled visas, known as H-1Bs, have increased as US companies still require specialized labor that is not readily available within the country. Eliminating the possibility for skilled foreigners to even apply for an immigrant visa to the US would deliver a substantial blow to the tech sector, one that is fueled by innovation and diversity.
Xenophobia as a diversionary tactic
Critics of the proposal have called it a political move to reinforce Trump’s anti-immigration stance and help him gain support in the upcoming presidential elections, echoing the “Muslim ban” that underlined his 2016 campaign.
His current “xenophobic scapegoating,” as some have argued, is meant to distract Americans from his failure to adequately respond to the COVID-19 crisis and its impact on the US economy. Trump is essentially promising unemployed voters that he will guarantee their financial security by keeping job-stealing immigrants out of the virus-battered country as it recovers from the pandemic.
Democratic New York Representative Jerrold Nadler pointed out that “many immigrants are on our frontlines, protecting us as doctors, nurses, health aids, farmworkers, and restaurant workers.”
President Trump now seeks to distract us from his fumbled COVID-19 response by trying to put the blame on immigrants. The truth is many immigrants are on our front lines, protecting us as doctors, nurses, health aids, farmworkers, and restaurant workers. https://t.co/nJef4W5qZK
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) April 21, 2020
Democratic Senator Amy Klobuchar, a former presidential candidate, also hit back at Trump for his attempted diversion.
“As our country battles the pandemic, as workers put their lives on the line, the President attacks immigrants & blames others for his own failures,” she tweeted. “The order I’d like to see tonight? Testing.”
As our country battles the pandemic, as workers put their lives on the line, the President attacks immigrants & blames others for his own failures. The order I’d like to see tonight? Testing. Instead he twists “the buck stops here” into this: “the buck stops anywhere but here.”
— Amy Klobuchar (@amyklobuchar) April 21, 2020
California Congressman Eric Swalwell tweeted: “He wants us to think our pandemic is the fault of immigrants and other nations. But we’re in this crisis due to his failures of foresight and leadership, and his ongoing failure to take responsibility and accept reality.”
He wants us to think our pandemic is the fault of immigrants & other nations. But we’re in this crisis- 42k-plus deaths & a faltering economy as other nations did better- due to his failures of foresight & leadership, & his ongoing failure to take responsibility & accept reality. https://t.co/9Q4CIbPJMw
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) April 21, 2020