Immigration in Pandemic Times, Vol. 1, No. 9

By Arantxa Galvan
In July 10, 2020

As schools across the country continue to announce shifts to online education and the COVID-19 crisis continues to worsen across that nation, the Trump administration continues to take severe steps against immigration under the guise of controlling the pandemic.

  • The union that represents immigration judges in the United States is suing the Trump administration for censoring their opinions – citing increased immigration crackdowns due to the pandemic as the reason for why much of their power is being stripped away. Due to speed-ups and the implementation of new policies, more power has been given to the director that oversees immigration courts, who has exercised his power to reverse rulings on multiple occasions. The lawsuit specifically targets a policy that impedes judges from speaking publicly and voicing their opinion, arguing that the rule is a direct violation of first amendment rights. Further, many immigration judges are worried about being unable to educate the public on immigration matters due to this restrictive policy will lead to a greater division between migrants and American citizens.   
  • On Wednesday, July 1st, a federal judge blocked the Trump administration’s rule, which limited Central Americans’ asylum claims. The rule forbid migrants who have passed by or lived in third countries from requesting asylum in the United States. Although the Trump administration argued that the rule was necessary to limit asylum border claims, the Ninth Court of Appeals concluded that the rule was unlawful and useless, as it “…does virtually nothing to ensure that a third country is a safe option.” Further, because new COVID-19 restrictions have already severely limited immigration to the US,  preventing the rule from going into action would not have any lasting consequences.  It should be noted that the lawsuit stopped the motion before it was put into action and the ban was not applied to any immigrant.   

Photo Credit: Rocky Sun

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