20/08/11 – Cities for Action Statement Against the Trump Administration’s Use of the COVID-19 Pandemic to Unduly Limit Immigration

For Immediate Release


Contact: [email protected]

The Cities for Action coalition strongly condemns the Trump Administration’s use of the pandemic to pursue its anti-immigrant agenda that seeks to undo the country’s immigration systems.  

COVID-19 has created significant challenges for individuals, families, and communities throughout the country. The impact of this pandemic has fallen heavily on many of the Cities for Action member cities and counties, from New York to Houston, from Ann Arbor to Seattle. Throughout our fight against and recovery from this pandemic, many of our immigrant residents have served in essential occupations on the frontlines. Precisely due to their work on the frontlines, our immigrant communities have borne the brunt of infections and resulting economic downturn.  

At a time when our cities need inclusive and effective federal leadership to address the devastating health and economic impacts of the pandemic, the Trump Administration has instead taken several divisive executive actions to unduly limit immigration and undermine our communities.  The Administration has used the COVID-19 crisis to justify unilateral actions targeting every type of immigrant—those seeking to reunite with their families, those working across our industries, and especially those fleeing persecution.

In just the last few months, the Administration has upended the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals, their families and employers through executive orders banning certain immigrant and non-immigrant visas. It co-opted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carry out its border policy, expelling tens of thousands of asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children. Now, it seeks to formally shut our country's doors to those fleeing persecution by introducing a new rule that would use the COVID-19 pandemic to summarily deny humanitarian protections without regard to other circumstances.  Although the Administration sought to justify these actions by citing high unemployment rates in the U.S. due to the pandemic, these are actually the same policies the Administration has been pursuing for years, even when unemployment rates were at record lows.  In fact, most industry leaders and economists agree that these measures will not result in job growth but the opposite, as immigrants are often job creators and revenue generators.

In tandem, these executive actions will effectively shut down most avenues for immigration.  And far from achieving the stated purpose of helping the country recover from the pandemic, these anti-immigrant measures only serve to betray our nation's historic commitment to humanitarian relief, prolong family separations, and prevent our cities and counties from attracting talent and business necessary for success in a global economy.  

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