Will empathy for immigrants survive COVID-19?
By Nolan Rappaport

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Only three things are certain — death, taxes and if there’s a major coronavirus epidemic in the United States, President Donald Trump will do whatever he can to prevent infected aliens from entering the country and to remove the ones who are already here.

Surprisingly, he may find it easier than some of his other immigration control attempts, assuming that COVID-19 deaths across the country begin to rise.

Trump can identify and exclude aliens at ports of entry who have the coronavirus

Setting economic consequences aside, keeping visitors with coronavirus out would be relatively easy.

In the midst of a major coronavirus pandemic, Trump could require a medical examination of every alien who wants to enter the United States. The examination could be performed by authorized physicians in their home country before the alien travels to the United States.

Medical exams usually are just required of aliens seeking admission as permanent residents. Nonimmigrant visitorsnormally do not have to have a medical exam. A medical exam, however, can be required of any alien if there is reason to think that he or she may be inadmissible on health-related grounds.

Aliens who have a communicable disease of public health significance, such as COVID-19, are inadmissible under 8 USC §1182(a)(1)(A)(i).
8 USC §1182(g) provides a discretionary waiver for this exclusion ground, but it is limited to aliens who have a specified relationship with a United States citizen or a lawful permanent resident, or an alien who has been issued an immigrant visa and aliens who are VAWA self-petitioners.

Aliens who are here unlawfully present a much greater challenge

A study performed by three Yale-affiliated researchers using mathematical modeling on a range of demographic and immigration operations data indicates that there likely are more than 22.1 million undocumented aliens in the United States, many of whom will be infected by COVID-19 as it spreads throughout the country. They are already here, and their impact on the coronavirus issue won’t become evident until they get sick — more of which in a moment.

Read more at https://thehill.com/opinion/immigrat...rvive-covid-19

Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an executive branch immigration law expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him on Twitter @NolanR1 or at https://nolanrappaport.blogspot.com.