Lewis Morris / Mar. 24, 2020

Closing the Border Over COVID-19

Leftmedia laments that President Trump has drastically reduced the flow of illegals.

President Donald Trump has acted to lock down America’s borders in the midst of the China Virus outbreak, which has already dramatically cut illegal border crossings. The new policy calls for illegal immigrants caught crossing the border to be immediately returned to their country of origin.

“We’re not going to take you into our custody,” said Mark Morgan, the acting head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “We don’t know anything about you. You have no documents. We’re not going to take you into our facilities and expose you to CBP personnel and the American people as well as immigrants.”

Illegal crossings are already down by half in recent weeks. The borders remain open to trade and commercial traffic, but tourists are much better off staying home. A major concern right now is with the agricultural industry, which fears that a shortage of seasonal workers could lead to disruptions in the food supply later in the year.

Many large agricultural companies rely on immigrant labor from other countries during major harvest periods. Immigrant visa restrictions put in place to stem the spread of the Chinese Virus in the U.S. mean that these companies will face a shortage of foreign workers who come in every year on temporary H-2A visas. While it’s possible to stem this shortage with American workers displaced from other jobs that have been affected by the virus, the agricultural industry maintains that these are not all unskilled positions. Some of the jobs require workers trained in specific farming methods using technical machines. We believe American workers are up to the task.

It’s unclear how Trump’s tougher immigration policies will play out in the courts. Before the virus outbreak, open-border advocates challenged every move he made to strengthen the border and clamp down on both illegal and legal immigration. The more he worked to fix immigration, the more they moved away from immigration enforcement and toward sanctuary cities and other actions to flout federal law.

The fact that we need to even argue about the necessity of protecting our borders — especially during a contagion crisis — is outrageous. But leftists, ever eager to use a crisis to their advantage, continue to argue against tougher immigration policies.

The Washington Post claims that Trump’s policies are doing more harm than good to illegal immigrants. The Post editorial board’s argument, if you want to call it that, is that the much-needed federal crackdown on sanctuary cities is driving illegal immigrants further into the shadows, scaring them off from seeking medical treatment. Leave it the Post to be more concerned about illegal immigrants than U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.

The ACLU and other leftist organizations advocating for open borders are mulling over legal challenges to the Trump administration’s latest actions. This is to be expected, but they might not find the level of support they once counted on as the virus and the national slowdown it has caused run their course. People purposely holed up in their homes and those who consequently have lost jobs and income because of it might not be so sympathetic to illegal aliens who ignore our laws. Similarly, federal judges in hard-hit states like California and New York where these cases are often heard might also be facing a whole new world. The value of strong border protections and the need to protect law-abiding citizens might take on new meaning.

But we’ll see.

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