(STL.News) – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently joined a coalition of attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in Gomez v. Trump urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to reverse a trial court decision that partially upheld President Trump’s proclamations that indefinitely disrupt vast portions of the country’s immigration system.
On April 22 and June 22, Trump signed two different immigration-related proclamations that effectively bar immigrants and foreign workers traveling on nonimmigrant work visas from entering the United States, including students, tech workers, and the families of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. Building on an earlier friend-of-the-court brief, the coalition once again asserts that the proclamations unlawfully keep families apart, harm the states and are likely to slow economic and societal recovery from COVID-19.
“Immigrants and their families provide a significant and positive impact to our economy that must not be overlooked,” Nessel said. “Financial considerations aside though, immigrants are integral to the cultural fabric of the United States, and our government should not be in the business of separating mothers from daughters, and husbands from wives. More than a half-million people – some of them relatives of legal U.S. citizens – could be prohibited from entering the U.S. under these proclamations. This is not only a disservice to immigrant populations, but an injustice to our own citizens.”
Rather than taking meaningful action to slow the spread of the coronavirus, the proclamations scapegoat immigrants and shut down congressionally authorized immigration to the United States. By the federal government’s own estimate, the proclamations may bar at least 525,000 people from entering the U.S., including parents, adult children and siblings of U.S. citizens, as well as spouses and adult children of lawful permanent residents. The bans harm the states by denying residents the right to unite with their families and harm the economy because immigrants and non-immigrant workers fill important roles in schools, fields and companies, create new jobs, start businesses, pay taxes, and purchase goods and services.
Broader participation in the labor market spurs the creation of new jobs and bolsters spending in the United States. A 2014 report by New American Economy Research Fund found that the elimination of large numbers of H-1B visas — among the visas targeted by President Trump’s proclamations — during the Great Recession cost the United States more than 231,200 technology jobs as a result of the lost innovation and growth the workers would have spurred. Beyond the harms to businesses and families across the country, the proclamations also directly impact international students that colleges and universities employ and enroll.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Nessel joins the attorneys general of California, New York, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia.