Mayor Durkan, Congresswoman Jayapal, Executive Constantine, and Council President González Issue Statements on President Trump’s Executive Order to Stop Immigration to the United States

Seattle (April 21, 2020) – Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan, Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal, King County Executive Dow Constantine, and Council President Lorena González issued statements today in response to President Trump’s executive order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States.

“Our City desperately needs the President to focus on supplies, testing, and a plan based in science to address this pandemic. The President’s newest threat is him yet again scapegoating families and workers to cover up for his administration’s continued mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Durkan. “It is absolutely despicable that he would use COVID-19 as an excuse to push his xenophobic agenda. COVID-19 is hurting so many people and exhausting frontline health care workers, many of whom are immigrants themselves. Instead of relying on science and data, his administration defaults to racism and bigotry. Seattle continues to be a Welcoming City for immigrants and people color, now in this crisis and long after.”

“President Trump’s executive order is ridiculous and deeply counter-productive in the midst of a global pandemic. Immigrants have always made America great and there’s no better example than the millions of immigrants and naturalized citizens—nurses and doctors, farm workers and grocery store clerks, domestic workers, and sanitation workers—heroically serving our communities on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis. This executive order is an insult to their patriotism, hard work and the countless contributions they and other immigrants make to our society every day,” said Congresswoman Jayapal, Co-Chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus and Vice Chair of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship. “Suspending immigration and once again using immigrants to appeal to racism and xenophobia may respond to a conservative talk show hosts’ demands but it absolutely will not solve our problems. Instead, it will have a catastrophic impact on our health care, food supply, and all of the systems we are relying upon during this crisis. No amount of scapegoating can cover over the fact that President Trump has bungled the federal response to COVID-19 and failed the American people.”

“It is entirely predictable that Trump, faced with overwhelming evidence that his administration is unable to provide a consistent or effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic, is again scapegoating immigrants,” said Executive Constantine. “He does our nation a terrible disservice by choosing to divide us in our moment of crisis, when we so badly need unity and compassion. Across our region and nation, immigrant workers – from farms to hospitals – are doing the essential, front-line work, putting themselves at risk so that we can all be fed and safe. No matter how much Trump tries to blame “the other” for his failure, King County remains welcoming to those who come here seeking a better life, and who continue to make our region stronger and more competitive.”

“President Trump says he wants to close our borders to protect American jobs, and yet immigrants strengthen and are a vital part of our communities as friends, family members, and neighbors. At every turn of this crisis, they are among the most vulnerable and heavily impacted without protections or access to services and resources that will help them survive this pandemic. Conditions continue to worsen at immigrant detention centers while immigrant families carry the weight of threats like public charge, family separation, and the fate of DACA hanging over their heads,” said Council President M. Lorena González. “The Trump administration continues to fail Americans and instead, doubles down on its instinct to blame immigrants as a scapegoat for its incompetency, indifference, and apathy to lead effectively and protect families from this pandemic. It’s vile and abhorrent. Enough is enough and we cannot and will not accept this xenophobia as American policy. Our city will continue our commitment as a Welcoming Community through investments of programs that protect immigrant communities and work to keep families together.”

President Trump made the announcement on Twitter late Monday night claiming that he wanted to protect American jobs as the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted the economy. Today, he unveiled more details about the executive order, which includes a 60-day pause with exemptions. For example, health care workers and seasonal farm workers will still be allowed entry.

Seattle is a Welcoming City because we believe in inclusion and equity. City employees do not ask about citizenship status and serve all residents regardless of immigration status. Immigrants and refugees continue to be welcome here. To help immigrant and refugee communities significantly impacted by COVID-19 in Seattle, the City of Seattle created a COVID-19 resource page where residents can find information about relief programs offered by the City, the County, and the State: www.seattle.gov/mayor/COVID-19. This site has automatic translate functionality for quick language access and pulls together resources for workers, artists, small businesses, nonprofits, parents, homeowners and renters, and community members.