Attorney General Becerra Leads Multistate Coalition in Fight Against Trump Anti-Immigrant Proclamations

Monday, August 10, 2020
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Trump proclamations bar families from re-uniting and are based on a flawed understanding of how the economy actually works

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and New York Attorney General Letitia James today led a coalition of 23 attorneys general in an amicus brief supporting a challenge to President Trump’s unlawful proclamations that indefinitely disrupt vast portions of the country’s immigration system. On April 22 and June 22, President Trump signed two different immigration-related proclamations that effectively suspend access to immigrant visas and certain non-immigrant visas, including those used by students, tech workers, and the families of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. In the amicus brief, the coalition asserts that the proclamations harm the states and are likely to slow economic and societal recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“President Trump might like to think he’s a businessman, but he clearly doesn’t understand how the economy works,” said Attorney General Becerra. “During this pandemic, our families and businesses need all the support they can get while keeping our communities safe and healthy. Instead of scapegoating hard-working immigrants, President Trump should increase funding for testing and tracing, open a special enrollment period on HealthCare.Gov, and get out of the way for extending economic assistance to out-of-work families — and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We don’t have time for the President’s distractions. People’s lives are at stake and it’s time the President remember that.”

The proclamations are just one more example of the Trump Administration’s ongoing efforts to shut down congressionally authorized immigration to the United States — this time using the current pandemic as an excuse to further an anti-immigrant agenda. By the federal government’s own estimate, the proclamations may bar at least 525,000 people from entering the United States, including parents, adult children, and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and adult children of lawful permanent residents. The bans harm the states by denying our residents the right to unite with their families and harm our economies because immigrants and non-immigrant workers fill important roles in our schools, fields, and companies, create new jobs, start businesses, pay taxes, and purchase goods and services. Instead of helping Americans, the proclamations are based on a deeply flawed and erroneous understanding of how the economy actually works. Broader participation in the labor market spurs the creation of new jobs and bolsters spending in the United States. In fact, a 2014 report found that the elimination of large numbers of H-1B visas — among the visas targeted by the President’s proclamations — during the Great Recession cost the United States approximately 231,224 technology jobs as a result of the lost innovation and growth the workers would have spurred. Beyond the harms to businesses and families across the country, the proclamations also directly impact international students that our colleges and universities employ and enroll. According to the Association of American Colleges and Universities, international students brought in an estimated $6 billion to California’s economy in 2017 alone, supporting approximately 70,131 jobs.

Attorney General Becerra remains committed to fighting for the rights of hard-working immigrants in California and across the country. Earlier this week, Attorney General Becerra pushed back on the Trump Administration’s ongoing effort to block meaningful access to asylum. Last month, following widespread public outcry and a lawsuit filed by the State of California, the Trump Administration ditched its dangerous directive on student visas. In June, Attorney General Becerra, leading a coalition of 21 attorneys general, secured a landmark U.S. Supreme Court victory upholding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which protects more than 180,000 Dreamers in California alone. Attorney General Becerra also filed a lawsuit in opposition to a rule circumventing protections for children under the Flores Settlement Agreement, which was permanently blocked by a federal court in September of 2019.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the attorneys general of New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.

A copy of the amicus brief is available here.

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