T’ruah denounces President Trump’s intention — announced late last night via tweet — to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S. This planned executive order would only formalize measures that the administration has taken over the past few weeks: visas not being processed overseas, asylum interviews suspended, and immigration courts shut down. Meanwhile ICE deportation actions continue apace, with deportees in fact contributing to the spread of COVID-19 in places like Guatemala.
The announcement is pure propaganda, designed to scapegoat immigrant communities and divert attention from the real reason so many Americans are dying — namely, the administration’s failure to adequately address the global COVID-19 pandemic. The move only stokes hatred against immigrants, while doing nothing to ameliorate the spread of the virus or facilitate its treatment. The U.S. is already the undisputed epicenter of this pandemic, and a political ploy to blame immigrants for that fact flies in the face of truth and reason.
It is especially galling for this threat to be made on Yom HaShoah, a day to commemorate the lives of six million Jews whose genocide was facilitated by, among other things, the virtual closing of the U.S. to immigrants from Eastern Europe in 1924.
What’s more, millions of immigrants risk their lives as essential workers every day to keep all of us healthy and safe. Trump is trying to divide us by race and by birthplace to distract from his failure to protect us. We need testing, treatment, hospital supplies, and economic relief — not more blame and failed leadership.
A modern-day Pharaoh, the president continues in the tradition of tyrants by devastating the most vulnerable among us. As Jews, we have seen this before, and we will not be taken in by this kind of cowardly chicanery.