It has been barely over a week since Donald Trump announced by tweet on April 20 that he was planning to suspend all legal immigration into the US as a supposed measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the US and to "protect US jobs" lost because of the pandemic. Then, on April 22, he signed an executive order which tracks an administration proposal to bar certain categories of legal immigrants, mainly from outside Europe, that was rejected by Congress two years ago, long before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19.

But while it is true that millions of Americans (and immigrants) have lost their jobs because of the pandemic. America's president is actively resisting almost every step that his top medical advisors are insisting is necessary to overcome the virus, which has now infected more than a million people in the US and taken the lives of more Americans than the number who were killed in the Vietnam war.

The latest outrage took place on April 28, when Trump used his legal authority under the DPA, not to order production of more life-saving face masks and protective equipment, but to order meat-packing plants to stay open, no matter what the cost will be in human life, including the lives of immigrant workers in those plants.

And this order is only the latest in a shameful series of actions that Trump has taken to deny or downplay the danger of COVID-19 and to sabotage the chances of making an effective response. But whenever Trump can use the pandemic as a weapon to promote his white supremacist, anti-immigrant agenda, then taking action in the name of the pandemic suddenly becomes a top priority for him and his to[ anti-immigrant consiglire, Stephen Miller, who is devoting every waking hour to thinking up new ways to keep immigrants from nonwhite parts of the world out of the United States.

Trump showed this again on April 28, when he threatened to withhold federal economic aid to combat coronavirus job losses and business shutdowns in states that maintain "sanctuary" policies to protect against Trump's mass arrest and expulsion agenda against nonwhite immigrants. See, Vox, April 28:

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2020/4/28/21239903/trump-coronavirus-aid-leverage-states-sanctuary-cities

It remains to be seen whether Trump's attempt to divert focus away from his own appalling coronavirus failures, neglect and denial by fanning the flames of hatred and fear against brown immigrants will be successful for him in this fall's election.

But no matter how long Trump's presidency may last, whether through a democratic facade in which millions of minority Americans are deprived of the right to vote through Republican voter suppression tactics in key states, or though an outright fascist takeover - or both - history will not forget his dark legacy. This will be a legacy of using the most dangerous pandemic in 100 years as a tool for advancing his white supremacist anti-immigrant agenda while failing to protect the safety and health of the American people.


Roger Algase
Attorney at Law