(Image source from: Qatar-tribune.com)
Owing to the rising rates of unemployment in the US, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspends immigration to the United States. These new restrictions aren’t necessarily as stringent as they seem to be, which is a good thing.
The immigration policies do need short-term adjustments along with reforms in the long run. Any kind of sudden clampdowns isn’t the answer to anything at this point.
The order of the terms of the new executive law was an appeal to the anti-immigration hardliners by the US President. But, the entry of the temporary farmworkers, medical professionals and workers in the technology sector will be allowed in as normal.
As per the new provision, there is a 60-days ban on the new green cards for the foreign nationals that are residing outside US.
The new executive order is likely going to affect the parents, adult children and the siblings of the naturalized Americans. It is also likely going to affect the spouses of the existing green card holders. The spouses of the naturalized Americans will be able to acquire a visa and the immigrants in the US who have applied for the green card status will be allowed to stay.
With the pandemic, new applications aren’t being accepted and this new order is merely a formality to ensure an existing freeze at the moment.
But, the lingering question at the moment is what happens when the 60 days are over? The Trump administration has been insinuating that the ban could extend indefinitely to help cope with the consistent unemployment happening around. This will reduce the annual granted permanent residency for the immigrants by one-third.
Some of the anti-immigrant activists are also leveraging the Covid-19 crisis to end the prospects of chain migration that allows the immigrants to sponsor their relatives to come to US. They are also focusing on eradicating the diversity visa lottery that grants green cards to up to 50,000 foreign nationals in a year.
If these happen, it will cause the number of foreigners and immigrants settling in the US to plummet.
Some of the temporary hold on the immigration because of the soaring rates of unemployment in the US is justified. This is being done to protect the workers in the sectors that have experienced the worst hit because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
But, once the crisis is over and things get back to normal with the fizzling rate of unemployment, the US will need to bring in more foreign talent to further fill the labor shortages in some of the critical fields in the country especially in health care and innovation.
The US immigration system currently needs not just a reform but their goals should be to increase the admission of the immigrants in a large proportion overall prioritizing the skills over family ties. It should also work in providing a pathway to citizenship to the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country who have been residing for years now.
The constant lack of mutual understanding between Congress and the White House is what is causing the dispute.
With the Covid-19 dispute, there is a pending in the change of government but it is time that the congressional leaders insist President Trump to follow the law as stated. If the White House decides on widening the executive order without any deadline, it is necessary that they also come up with clear national-security rationale and have necessary data to defend the same in court.
With the US being the worst hit country by the coronavirus, recovering from it will be difficult as it is. The last thing that the country or the world needs is a reform in the immigration policies that make the process of revival a lot harder than it has to be.
- Somapika Dutta