Immigration Will Be Another Casualty of the Coronavirus
Trump to sign executive order denying new immigrants entry
Even before President Donald Trump announced that he intends to temporarily suspend immigration to the U.S. because of COVID-19, it was becoming clear that the effect of the virus on migration would be powerful, long-lasting and unfortunate. Many countries besides the U.S. have already shuttered or severely limited entry from foreigners — and many of those restrictions will not be so easily removed when the worst of the pandemic has passed.
First, there is no guarantee that a good vaccine will be ready quickly, even within two years. There is still no vaccine, for instance, for the common cold or HIV-AIDS. Even if the U.S. has COVID-19 under control, there might be persistent if small pockets of COVID-19 in other countries, including populous, poor countries such as India, Pakistan and Nigeria. The U.S. may be reluctant to take new migrants from those parts of the world.
Whether or not that reaction is rational, it is easy to imagine the public being fearful about the potential of immigration to contribute to a pandemic resurgence. It does seem that regions able to restrict in-migration relatively easily — such as New Zealand, Iceland and Hawaii — have had less severe COVID-19 problems. New York City, which takes in people from around the world, has had America’s most severe outbreak. And the recent appearance of a second wave of COVID-19 in Singapore has been connected to ongoing migration there.
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