FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 21, 2020
CONTACT: Sam Yu | email@example.com
“Xenophobia Should Be Suspended, Not Immigration!”
We condemn Trump’s plan to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States, when immigrants are essential workers, family breadwinners, and most importantly, equally human.
Chicago, IL: On April 20, President Trump alleged that he was working on an executive order to suspend all immigration into the United States due to the COVID-19 pandemic. His tweet stated: “In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
We must collaboratively work to combat a virus that is most severely impacting immigrant, undocumented, people of color, and low-income communities the most, rather than using xenophobic logic to create a false and diversionary solution to this pandemic. This tweet, on the other hand, paints a false ideal of the United States as a country free of immigrants, when immigrants and people of color are core to the fabric and successes of our society. In positioning the coronavirus exclusively as an attack from outside this nations’ bounds, instead of a virus we should be globally collaborating to combat, Trump’s statement further enforces a “disease-ridden immigrant” stereotype, that it is immigrants who are bringing the disease into this country. Finally, it employs an old xenophobic logic of immigrants taking away “Great American Citizens”’ jobs and horrifically connects it to the “Invisible Enemy.” This ultimately exposes the hateful and anti-immigrant undertones in the U.S. administration’s COVID-19 response.
In reality, immigrants are essential workers, family breadwinners, and most importantly, equally human. Approximately 27,000 DACA recipients are healthcare workers (doctors, nurses, paramedics), 9,000 are educators, teaching our children while schools are closed, and others are grocery store workers, child care providers, cleaners, small business owners, and restaurant workers. Our construction workforce, 15 percent of whom are undocumented, are building our hospitals and healthcare infrastructure and more than half of farmworkers is undocumented and living in vulnerable conditions, even as the food industry is growing increasingly more critical.
Rather than increasing the division and xenophobia that is already rampant in this country, white America must come to terms with the fact that immigrants and people of color are part of the fabric of this country. Meanwhile, anti-immigrant policies and existing discriminatory structures are forcing impacted individuals to work despite life-endangering conditions, or else putting them out of work while depriving them of access to many relief provisions.
We call upon Congress to take steps to protect immigrants in this time, such as supporting Representative Meng’s anti-Asian sentiment resolution, cosponsoring the Coronavirus Immigrant Families Protection Act, and ensuring immigrants are included in all relief provisions in the fourth relief package or CARES 2. This is a time when we should be acting together to protect our most vulnerable communities, not scapegoating those who do not fit into a false ideal of white America.
Founded in 1994, the National Korean American Service & Education Consortium (NAKASEC)’s mission is to organize Korean and Asian Americans to achieve social, economic, and racial justice.