Editor’s note: When it comes to immigration — illegal or otherwise — the American people have a right to be concerned. Each week, Liberty Nation author Kelli Ballard examines a contentious issue related to today’s hottest topic.
As the Coronavirus pandemic spreads across the United States, more restrictions are being put on the American people either by the White House or their individual states. Facilities where people reside in close quarters, such as nursing homes and prisons, are especially susceptible to dispersing the contagion. While activists try to get illegal immigrants released from detention centers, hoping that will contain the spread of COVID-19, President Donald Trump made assurances that the undocumented can get tested for the virus without fear of deportation.
During a White House briefing on March 22, Trump said, “If that’s not the policy, I’ll make it the policy. The answer is yes, we will do those tests.” He continued:
“You could say illegal alien, you could say illegal immigrant, you could say whatever you want to use your definition of what you’re talking about … Yes, we will test that person. Because I think it’s important we test that person, and we don’t want to send that person back into wherever we’re going to be sending that person.”
The president’s declaration that the undocumented need not worry about being returned to their home countries if they need to be tested for the virus may help reduce fear within that community. It also shows that Trump isn’t the evil monster as the left paints him. Yet, it is still problematic because trust is not easily won, especially among illegal immigrants whose fears and suspicions are strongly reinforced by liberal scare tactics.
Vice President Mike Pence also said that Customs and Border Protection would not seek out the undocumented in hospitals, emergency rooms, or clinics during the pandemic crisis, except under extreme circumstances.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) emphasized those guidelines in a press release, stating:
“ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”
The agency said that, starting March 18, it would not “carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities” and that “Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.”
Border Patrol agents also are feeling the strain of keeping migrants from crossing into the United States when the entire world is practicing travel bans and social distancing. As Liberty Nation’s Sarah Cowgill reported, the president has treated both borders equally, closing the southern and northern entrances to non-essential travel.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.
For home study students and young people, Liberty Nation recommends…
All About Immigration
High School: The Story of Immigration and America
Middle School: The Story of Immigration and America
Elementary School: The Story of Immigration and America
All About Coronavirus
High School: The Spread of Coronavirus: How it Works
Middle School: A Scientific Look at COVID-19
Elementary School: Coronavirus: The Science
Video: What’s the Point of Borders?