US President Donald Trump’s move to temporarily suspend immigration is influenced by a secret anti-immigrant White House lobby and holds no scientific basis.
In the backdrop of the coronavirus induced chaos clutching the US, President Donald Trump’s immigration ban pushes forward the nativist idea promoted by a secret White House lobby anti-immigrant hate groups. Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspends immigration into the United States. The move redeems those that believe and proliferate the idea that immigrants are super-spreaders for diseases.
Anti-immigrant groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), VDARE and the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) have long tried to promote the idea linking it with each epidemic that comes along. These groups together form a lobby, dubbed as the modern nativist movement, and have long argued that immigrants are disease spreaders, a highly misinformed and xenophobic claim.
Watch: The truth about hate groups
Forcing public health into the Immigration debate
Xenophobic acts well-documented by the American nonprofit legal advocacy organization Southern Poverty Law Centre’s Hatewatch, the nativist lobby flooded the political scene with misinformation blaming immigrants for the 2009 Swine Flu outbreak and the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The White House nativist lobby is taking the same approach toward creating panic and spreading xenophobia during the 2019 coronavirus pandemic.
The anti-immigrant hate lobby has direct access to “important policy circles in the White House”. As reported by Hatewatch. Trump’s immigration policy overseer Stephen Miller “shared a white nationalist article on VDARE website with White House staff”. Similarly, a number of critical personnel in the Trump Administration have worked for Anti-immigrant groups CIS and FAIR.
Similarly, a number of critical immigration personnel in the Trump Administration have worked for Anti-immigrant hate groups in the past.
These include current ICE senior advisor Jon Feere who also openly backed abolishment of the 14th amendment i.e right to citizenship by birth. Feere was a legal policy analyst at CIS for almost a decade. Likewise, former FAIR executive director between 2007 to 2015, Julie Kirchner oversees the new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) office for civil rights complaints from detention center detainees.
Architects of the modern nativist movement
Two of these major groups of the movement were created by late John Tanton, also known as the architect of the modern nativist movement. Tanton founded the main White House anti-immigration lobbying organizations FAIR in 1979 and CIS in 1985.
VDARE was created by Peter Brimelow in 1999 as the platform for white nationalists, and anti-immigrant advocates. SPLC’s Hatewatch lists VDARE as a hate group for “racist rhetoric and sporadic dissemination of antisemitic conspiracy theories” since 2003. Furthermore, VDARE’s Brimelow recently stated that coronavirus is coming along “easier” for him as his city is not an “immigration-impacted area.”, in a response to Hatewatch.
Evidence suggests opposite – immigrants are healthier than host populations
Trump’s temporary suspension of immigration is based on an argument that doesn’t exist. There is no evidence of immigrants bringing widespread disease with them. Ironically, exhaustive studies by the UCL-Lancet Commission on Migration and Health concluded that immigrants were usually healthier than host populations.
Watch: Experts say immigrants don’t spread disease
Moreover, President Trump’s proposed policy is not just discriminatory in nature, it also sends the wrong message to the public about the contribution of the immigrant population during the coronavirus crisis. Immigrants constitute a sizable part of the frontline workforce during the outbreak –healthcare and home aid professionals, grocery stores staff, and food and other essential industry workers.
Trump’s immigration ban will be hailed by the anti-immigrant White House lobby but more importantly, it stands in line with Trump Administration’s response to the coronavirus crisis. Trump has repeatedly ignored scientific guidance, undermining health expert recommendations like social distancing and access to widespread testing.
It is imperative that any policy decision in this toughest of times is taken in line with our scientific understanding of how to deal with pandemics. As Joanne Lin, national advocacy director, Amnesty International USA, says, “If President Trump wants to limit the spread and the deaths occurring under his leadership, now is the time to look to health experts, and not point fingers at immigrants.