In an effort to discourage people from coming to the United States, the Trump administration has implemented a wide variety of stringent policies and tightened regulations. The most apparent barrier to immigration is the border wall project, but subtler forms of legislation may prove to be even more effective than the physical barrier at the southern border.
While some believe that these policies strengthen the nation, they may incidentally strengthen something else: the coronavirus. This might come as a surprise, as people would normally believe that restricted immigration would inhibit the spread of disease.
Why Would Tightened Regulations Encourage the Virus?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to handle the current pandemic is to limit unnecessary social contact, stay as clean as possible, and provide prompt medical treatment for those who catch the virus. Under current U.S. policy, however, these simple measures may be nearly impossible for immigrants to implement.
The State of Detainment Camps
Asylum-seekers, for example, are more vulnerable to disease due to conditions at encampments along the border. These encampments are chronically overcrowded, and immigration officials have earned a reputation for depriving asylum-seekers of the medical treatment they need. Some, in fact, have died from influenza because CBP refused to administer flu shots—against the CDC’s recommendations. Due to lack of care, cold temperatures in the camps, lack of basic necessities, and physical trauma from the journeys to the U.S. border, asylum-seekers are particularly prone to suffering from preventable and treatable illnesses.
The Unintended Effect of the Public Charge Rule
Meanwhile, people who have made it past the border face additional barriers to treatment. In late February, USCIS implemented the new public charge rule, which prevents immigrants from obtaining visas or green cards if they have used certain public benefits. Due to the intense fear of becoming undocumented or deported, many immigrants have decided to forego basic care and vital benefits because they don’t want to risk becoming ineligible.
These policies are designed to make immigrants feel unwelcome, and they are grounded in the myth that immigrants rely more on public benefits than native-born Americans. Recent research, however, suggests that immigrants actually rely less upon benefits than several generations of native-born Americans. Furthermore, while CBP treats asylum-seekers like criminals, immigrants of all statuses are statistically less likely to commit crimes.
Ultimately, current immigration policies are most catastrophic for immigrants, but the entire nation may begin to feel adverse effects in unexpected ways.
Contact Us for Fierce Advocacy
At Kanu & Associates, P.C., we care deeply about your health, safety, and security. Immigration law is our passion because we believe in everyone’s right to establish a successful future in the United States. If you are unsure how current immigrant policy could interfere with your wellbeing or future goals, let us address each of your concerns. We can work closely with you to protect your rights today and fight for a better tomorrow.