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Press Release // Immigration and Asylum

LIRS Condemns Executive Order Restricting Immigration

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LIRS Staff

April 22, 2020

LIRS Condemns Trump Administration Executive Order on Immigration as Misguided and un-American

Contact: Timothy Young | | 443-257-6310

Washington D.C. – On April 22, President Trump issued an Executive Order suspending the issuance of green cards to a large swath of immigrants for at least 60 days, citing the “Invisible Enemy” of the coronavirus and the need to protect American jobs. As one of the nation’s oldest and largest immigration organizations, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service strongly condemns the action as deeply misguided and un-American.

“Economically speaking, the thinking behind this order plays into the patently flawed idea that American prosperity is a zero-sum game; to the contrary, we see consistently that immigrants are essential, entrepreneurial, tax-paying, and job-creating members of society, critical to the growth and vitality of our economy,” said  Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, President and CEO of LIRS.  “The Administration seeks to restart the American economy, but how can we do that when businesses lack access to specially skilled employees the Department of Labor has already certified?”

Under the order, American citizens will still be able to apply for green cards on behalf of their children and spouses. However, hundreds of thousands of current green card holders trying to reunite their families in America will not be eligible to do so while the order remains in effect. During Fiscal Year 2019, more than 462,000 immigrants were granted green cards from abroad, according to the U.S. Department of State.

“Denying children the opportunity to live here with their parents does absolutely nothing to protect American jobs,” noted Ms. Vignarajah. “Families belong together – there is simply no economic or moral justification for their prolonged separation.”

The order will not apply to temporary guest visas, such as those for health care, technology or farm labor – a major concession to business groups who have lobbied the Administration for access to immigrants deemed vital to their successful operation. Despite these exceptions, there are still thousands seeking green cards based on a job offer who will be impacted.

“In these times, of all times, to suggest that immigrants aren’t ‘GREAT Americans’ ignores those at the front lines of this struggle for survival,” noted Ms. Vignarajah. “It demonstrates a complete lack of respect for green card holders who make up the backbone of American society.”

The Executive Order comes after a prolonged effort by the Administration to erode pathways of legal immigration in the United States through the now-notorious Public Charge rule, new hurdles to asylum, and a record-low refugee admissions ceiling. In March 2020, it was announced that refugee resettlement flights would be suspended until further notice. Additionally, a new policy grants the Administration emergency powers at the border to immediately expel migrants to Mexico without due process, including unaccompanied minors.

“For a nation founded by and dependent on immigrants to turn its back on a legacy of welcome centuries in the making is heartbreaking,” concluded Ms. Vignarajah. “Unfortunately, this Executive Order is only the latest laceration in this administration’s attempt to kill legal immigration by a thousand cuts.”

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