On Tuesday (April 21) Donald Trump announced that he would issue an executive order to temporarily suspend some kinds of immigration to the US. He cast it as a jobs-protection measure, meant to “help unemployed Americans be first in line for jobs as America reopens”.
It was a pointless statement with neither sense nor sensibility. First, much of the US immigration system has already halted because of the coronavirus outbreak. In effect then, Mr Trump’s suspension is meant for an already suspended system.
Second, if Mr Trump wanted to prevent foreigners from taking jobs that unemployed Americans could do, he should be keeping out seasonal guest workers.
Instead, his administration has exempt fruit and veg pickers, mostly Latinos, who are pouring in to pick nature’s bounty.
But with 22 million Americans filing for unemployment benefits, wouldn’t it make sense for some of them to be drafted in to do the other jobs that are available and need doing?
The arguments against setting white-collars workers to farm jobs are many and persuasive. They wouldn’t want to, wouldn’t know how and shouldn’t be compelled. Perhaps. All of those made sense, once upon a time, in the age before coronavirus.
The world is very different today. Sadly, Mr Trump is exactly the same as he always was: utterly pointless.