What does a great leader do in times of turmoil and adversity? Whatever your answer might be to that question, it is probably not that they find a scapegoat and start a hateful campaign to punish that scapegoat in all the ways they can to deflect attention being placed on them and do things that deeply hurt the economy, right?
In 2020 we have witnessed President Trump’s mismanagement of the epidemic, his blatant disregard for, and apathy towards, the systemic racism which has always existed and now has finally come to full boil nationwide, and a record-breaking level of unemployment unseen since the Great Depression. At the same time, we have seen the most blatant all-out attack on immigrants since even before the epidemic’s impact began being felt, and a rapid escalation of measures to tear down the US immigration system at all costs, which has caused and will cause I credible collateral damage to the economy, business and innovation, individuals, families and even educational institutions.
These words come to mind from the great musician Don Dokken’s “Crash N’ Burn”:
“How we trusted in you, no one knows for sure. Still it’s all but over, sailing on a ship of fools.”
The U.S. embarked on this sea of madness in 2017, and now President Trump, sensing that there is a unfixable hole in the boat, is sinking it with torpedoes with “Immigrant” emblazoned on them. The problem is that we as a nation are also in this sinking ship with him.
The scapegoats for this attack on America itself are the immigrants, including the ones who we may be married to, who we have adopted, those who we have hired to work for us, or the ones who come here to run new start-ups which might revolutionize industries like Elon Musk did. This now includes perhaps even the most innocuous group of all: the young brilliant minds who come from all the over the world to study in the U.S. and add their ideas, innovation and energy to the some of the greatest universities in the world. The Trump administration just announced that they reversed their announcement that they would be asking all students on F-1 student visas to leave the U.S. and abandon their courses of study if their learning did not include in-person instruction. Immigration and Customs Enforcement suggested that students currently enrolled in the US consider other measures, like transferring to schools with in-person instruction. There was an exception for universities using a hybrid model, such as a mix of online and in-person classes.
After the new directive was announced, universities nationwide scrambled to see if they could include in-person instruction while they separately filed lawsuits or amicus (friend of the court) briefs to piggyback on suits filed by Harvard/M.I.T. and other universities, as well as suits filed by the District of Columbia and multiple states. The sudden reversal in Massaachusetts Federal Court on July 14, added an extras serving of egg on the face of this administration, further sinking its credibility and exposing it as one a ship with no rudder, no vision, no direction.
Never mind that this directive would havewould force schools, especially those with prestigious masters’ degree programs which have high percentages of foreign students, to force classes to be given in person, despite the fact that this increases health risks due to heightened chances of exposure to Covid-19.
This measure was yet another nonsensical and hateful legal measure, following the Public Charge Rule, the closing of U.S. embassies and consulates, and two recent Executive Orders which shut down the issuance of visas for professionals critical to the success and growth of U.S. businesses, all in 2020. It may have been part of the President’s push to re-open U.S schools, and was pulled back when the entire higher educational system and many of the states where our greatest universities are located stood up and said “enough!”, telling him he had gone too far. Immigrant students can breathe again, for now.