Though it’s still unclear how a recent tweet from US President Donald Trump saying he would ‘suspend immigration into the United States!’ will manifest itself in policy, some blamed him for trying to scapegoat immigrants as a way to divert attention from the administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Catholic members of the Interfaith Immigration Coalition, a group of 55 national, faith-based organisations, joined a statement accusing the president of using a ‘dog whistle’ against immigrants ‘to distract Americans from the many ways his administration is failing to keep us from dying’.
Sr Simone Campbell, a Sister of Social Service, who is executive director of the Catholic social justice lobbying group Network and is part of the coalition, characterised the proposal as a “racist immigration ban”, and one that “comes while immigrants do the essential work that keeps our nation going during this pandemic”.
But Thomas Homan, the administration’s former acting director of US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told the Reuters news agency that “it’s really not about immigration”. Trump said his planned ban on immigration would be temporary. “It’s about the pandemic and keeping our country safer while protecting opportunities for unemployed Americans,” he said. By mid-March, 22 million Americans had filed for unemployment.
Picture: A worker in New York City holds a sign from a car during a caravan demonstration for the rights of essential immigrant workers on 21st April 2020. (CNS photo/Mike Segar, Reuters).