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The Perfect Storm: Trump will Use Pandemic to Pass Anti-Immigrant Laws

The COVID-19 pandemic has offered President Donald Trump a unique opportunity to push his anti-immigrant agenda. The economic impact of the pandemic is being leveraged as a reason to limit available avenues for non-US-citizens to apply for immigration status or benefits. Unfortunately, the Trump Administration’s response to COVID-19 is likely to lead to a reduction in the number of applications for green cards, residency, and citizenship in the coming years. Historical data shows that the U.S. government cut the number of new green cards issued by 80% in the 3 years following the stock market crash of 1929, when unemployment jumped to similar levels to those reported in May of 2020. History can teach us about the future of U.S. immigration and why it is a priority for people to apply for immigration benefits now.


  • February 18: ICE Enforcement Priority Memo
  • Historical data: green cards issued and risk of upcoming reduction
  • U.S. trends and views on increasing legal immigration
  • Upcoming reduction in legal immigration likely due to economic downturn


Forecasting Changes in New Green Card Issuance in Light of the Current Economic and Political Climate

The abrupt change in economic and political circumstances caused by the COVID-19 epidemic indicate, with historical precedent, a clear risk that the government may substantially reduce the number of Green Cards it issues to immigrants in the coming years.