Immigration advocates in the Bay Area are slamming President Trump’s plan to temporarily suspend all immigration to the U.S.
The president said the ban will protect American jobs but critics say he’s taking advantage of the COVID-19 crisis to advance an anti-immigration agenda.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who’s had a war of words with the president for defending undocumented immigratnts in her city, called the tweet “fear-mongering.”
“I see immigrants, including undocumented workers, keeping our grocery store shelves stocked, being in our emergency rooms, these are heroes they should not be vilified,” said Schaaf.
The San Francisco Bay Area office of Council on American-Islamic Relations fears the Executive Order might actually become a policy that ends up separating families of essential workers.
According to CAIR, 29% of doctors in the U.S. and 23% of pharmacists were born in another country.
“We’re going to start hearing from people who are asking, what about this? What about my family members? What about my work visa?” said Zahra Billoo, executive director of CAIR California SF Bay Area.
The White House says the president is putting American workers first by sealing off the country to immigrants.
Even before this move, the Trump administration had already expanded travel restrictions and slowed down visa processing.
“I'm reminded that he called the first Muslim ban temporary it is still in effect now several years later,” said Billoo.
But what about farm laborers, the seasonal essential workers we rely on to feed America?
“They’re essential workers but they don’t have essential rights,” said Marc Grossman, United Farm Workers spokesperson.
At his White House press conference, the president announced that seasonal foreign farm workers will be exempt from the ban.
“The irony is that immigrants are performing essential jobs,” said Grossman. “They are proving their patriotism.”
Labor unions representing farm workers say laborers deserve to receive hazard pay and free COVID-19 testing, saying they are at high risk of contracting the virus because they work and live in close conditions.