Response to executive order on immigration during coronavirus pandemic

Response to executive order on immigration during coronavirus pandemic

Welcoming America | April 22, 2020

Yesterday, the President announced that he would temporarily suspend specific types of immigration to the United States through an executive order. Although the details of the order are less sweeping than the original announcement on Twitter, it remains consistent with the Administration’s policy of shifting blame rather than focusing on solutions. This executive order, if implemented, is at best a distraction from the real problem—public health—and, at worst, a condemnation of our values as a nation in being a welcoming place where all belong.

These are fearful and uncertain times for everyone. None are exempt from the sacrifices to our daily lives. We are all changing how we work, shop for food, manage finances, and make plans for ourselves and our families. The coronavirus has clearly demonstrated that it does not care about race, gender, class, or religious beliefwhich is why it is even more important to solve this together as Americans, united in the belief that none of these should be factors in how we receive or give care.

It is true that the U.S. now has the highest rate of death and infections from the coronavirus in the world. But it is also true that Americans are generous, welcoming, inclusive, and resourceful. Since the outbreak, thousands of leaders across the 200+ communities that are part of the Welcoming Network have demonstrated how their communities are solving problems by coming together. In Baltimore, MD, Mayor Bernard Young focused on making sure all residents, including immigrants, are informed and engaged through a creative social media campaign; in Champaign, IL, the local YMCA is leaning into partnerships rather than distancing from them.

Time and time again, we see the best of America during crises, especially at the community level. Leaders and policies focusing on inclusive public health responses have seen the most success; social (or physical) distancing has proven to be an effective method in mitigating the spread of the coronavirus. All of this shows what is possible when everyone is part of the solution. At a time when any and all help is needed, we cannot afford to exclude those who have the most to contribute.

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