The shutdown of immigration explained


The supposedly temporary shutdown of immigration is in effect an executive order to put into place a dramatic change in immigration proposed bt the RAISE act, drafted by Republican senators and which the White House endorsed in 2019 — to remove pretty much all immigration except for skilled workers. In other words, the administration is the second in a row to try to change immigration in a big way through executive order.

Before the President’s Proclamation on April 22 (text here), the administration had already suspended routine visa processing at its consulates and embassies abroad. In 2019, 9.2 million visas were issued at consulates and embassies abroad. The US’s borders with Canada and Mexico are closed to nonessential travel. Migrants at the Mexican border were turned away. (Go here.)

The suspension is largely directed at family reunification, affecting an annual inflow by green cards of about 350,000 persons, such as the parents, siblings, and adult children of U.S. citizens, and spouses and young children of permanent residents. (Go here). It would cut refugee entries by about half.

Boundless created a chart showing that the effect of reducing family-related immigration falls heavily on non-European would-be immigrants.

The suspension does not affect spouses and children of citizens, temporary farmworkers (H-2A), temporary skilled workers (H-1B), international students, and the EB-5 program which allows rich foreigners to buy green cards for themselves and their families.


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