Posted on May 5, 2020

After the Pandemic, the U.S. Will Need More Immigrants

The Editorial Board, Bloomberg, May 1, 2020

President Donald Trump recently announced an executive order “temporarily suspending immigration to the United States.” It turns out that the new restrictions are narrower than this might suggest — which is a good thing. Immigration policy needs short-term adjustments and cries out for long-term reform, but broad or indefinite clampdowns certainly aren’t the answer.

The president was describing the order in terms most likely to appeal to anti-immigration hardliners. In fact, temporary farmworkers, medical professionals and workers in the technology sector will continue to be allowed in. The main provision is a 60-day ban on new green cards for foreign nationals living outside the U.S.

This will affect parents, adult children and siblings of naturalized Americans, and the spouses of existing green-card holders. (Spouses of naturalized citizens can still get visas, and immigrants living in the U.S. who’ve applied for green cards will be allowed to stay.) {snip}


America’s immigration system does need reform — but not to cut numbers as an end in itself. On the contrary, the goals should be to increase immigrant admissions overall, while prioritizing skills over family ties, strengthening border security, and providing a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants already in the country. The White House and Congress seem incapable of reaching any such compromise.


Recovering from the coronavirus epidemic will be difficult enough as it is. The last thing the country needs is an immigration policy that will make revival harder still.