Statement on Executive Order Pausing Immigration

SILVER SPRING, Md. — On April 22 President Trump issued an executive order that aims to temporarily block some immigration to the United States. The administration argues that the order is needed to protect American jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic. HIAS believes that this order will neither help to protect jobs nor help to stop the spread of the pandemic; instead the order will jeopardize public health and our economic recovery.

“Everyone is hurt by this global pandemic — citizens and non-citizens, refugees, asylum seekers, and immigrants, many of whom are on the front lines helping to keep our country running right now,” said Melanie Nezer, HIAS’ Senior Vice President for Public Affairs. “This is not the time for executive orders that have nothing to do with making the country healthier or stronger. At a time when we are all suffering from being apart from our families, this executive order creates even more family separation, for absolutely no legitimate health, safety, or economic reason.”

The order, for the most part, does not affect refugees and asylees. The order limits family-based immigration and temporarily blocks people seeking green cards from entering the United States.  

Due to the pandemic, almost all visa processing by the State Department, including immigrant visas, has been suspended for weeks, and refugee resettlement has been suspended. In addition, the administration also used COVID-19 as justification to essentially block all asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, from entering the country at our southern border.

HIAS will continue speaking out against any attempts to blame migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers for the spread of the coronavirus. During the pandemic HIAS continues to provide critical services to refugees and asylum seekers and advocates for the rights of all who seek safety from persecution.


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