Immigration is President Trump’s signature issue, so not surprisingly, he has an immigration solution to the coronavirus pandemic: Stop letting people come to America.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Trump said on April 20 he plans to sign an executive order temporarily banning all legal immigration to the United States, in order to protect American jobs and to help defeat the “invisible enemy” (coronavirus). The logic is specious. Legal immigration benefits the economy because it expands the labor force and generates more economic activity, and there’s scant evidence legal immigrants take jobs that would otherwise go to native-born Americans. And with 2.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the world—and probably multiples of that unconfirmed—the virus is already widely prevalent here. Banning new immigration probably won’t reduce infection rates one bit.” data-reactid=”17″>Trump said on April 20 he plans to sign an executive order temporarily banning all legal immigration to the United States, in order to protect American jobs and to help defeat the “invisible enemy” (coronavirus). The logic is specious. Legal immigration benefits the economy because it expands the labor force and generates more economic activity, and there’s scant evidence legal immigrants take jobs that would otherwise go to native-born Americans. And with 2.5 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the world—and probably multiples of that unconfirmed—the virus is already widely prevalent here. Banning new immigration probably won’t reduce infection rates one bit.

No public health experts think banning immigration is an effective way to battle the coronavirus. So why do it? For an obvious, Trumpian reason: To fire up his core supporters, who are generally opposed to immigration.

But Trump’s repeated efforts to appease his so-called base are politically risky, and the issue of immigration illustrates why. A majority of Americans support legal immigration, and acceptance of immigration has actually inched up since Trump won the presidency in 2016. And voters in swing states crucial to Trump’s reelection increasingly tilt against his immigration policies.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“The president is running on a whole lot of issues where he’s out of step with the country, and immigration is the most important,” Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg said recently on the Yahoo Finance Electionomics podcast. “The president wants to close borders and build the wall, but people think immigration benefits the country. He’s still running as an anti-immigration president.”” data-reactid=”20″>“The president is running on a whole lot of issues where he’s out of step with the country, and immigration is the most important,” Democratic pollster Stanley Greenberg said recently on the Yahoo Finance Electionomics podcast. “The president wants to close borders and build the wall, but people think immigration benefits the country. He’s still running as an anti-immigration president.”

Greenberg’s latest polling, from March, shows that 57% of voters in 16 swing states have a “warm” view on immigrants, while just 17% have a “cool” view, for a net positive of 40%. Since Trump’s election in 2016 hinged on narrow victories in swing states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, a small erosion in support on Trump’s top issue could easily flip such states to Joe Biden, Trump’s likely Democratic rival.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House April 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Oil prices fell below zero today due to a collapse in energy demand and near full capacity of storage tanks in the U.S., brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 20: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House April 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. Oil prices fell below zero today due to a collapse in energy demand and near full capacity of storage tanks in the U.S., brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump speaks at the daily coronavirus briefing at the White House April 20, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Voters also seem to have softened up on immigration in recent years, even as Trump has remained a hard-liner. The portion of Americans saying the U.S. should have more immigration rose from 21% in 2016 to 27% in 2019, while the portion favoring less immigration fell from 38% to 35%.” data-reactid=”33″>Voters also seem to have softened up on immigration in recent years, even as Trump has remained a hard-liner. The portion of Americans saying the U.S. should have more immigration rose from 21% in 2016 to 27% in 2019, while the portion favoring less immigration fell from 38% to 35%.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Trump highlights illegal immigration more than the legal variety—calling it an “invasion,” at one point. But Trump has tried to limit legal immigration as well, including his attempt to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States, a reduction in refugee allotments and slowing the green-card process.” data-reactid=”34″>Trump highlights illegal immigration more than the legal variety—calling it an “invasion,” at one point. But Trump has tried to limit legal immigration as well, including his attempt to ban Muslims from immigrating to the United States, a reduction in refugee allotments and slowing the green-card process.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Majorities support efforts to improve security at the southwest border, where many migrants sneak into the country illegally. But voters dislike many of Trump’s specific policies, especially the practice of separating migrant children from their families at the border.” data-reactid=”35″>Majorities support efforts to improve security at the southwest border, where many migrants sneak into the country illegally. But voters dislike many of Trump’s specific policies, especially the practice of separating migrant children from their families at the border.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="On other immigration issues, voters are more tolerant than Trump. In Pew Research surveys, 67% favor a way for roughly 11 million immigrants in the country illegally to establish citizenship, and 73% support accepting refuges fleeing war or violence. Trump hasn’t staked out a firm stance on either, but he has generally moved to limit every type of migration.” data-reactid=”36″>On other immigration issues, voters are more tolerant than Trump. In Pew Research surveys, 67% favor a way for roughly 11 million immigrants in the country illegally to establish citizenship, and 73% support accepting refuges fleeing war or violence. Trump hasn’t staked out a firm stance on either, but he has generally moved to limit every type of migration.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Immigration isn’t the only issue where Trump seems out of tune with voters. His tariff policies establish barriers to free trade, which Americans generally support. Trump keeps touting his 2017 tax cut even though most Americans think it favored the wealthy too much. And Trump is still trying to kill the Affordable Care Act, even as American views of the 2010 law have turned positive. Trump obviously needs his base, but he doesn’t seem to realize he needs other voters too.” data-reactid=”37″>Immigration isn’t the only issue where Trump seems out of tune with voters. His tariff policies establish barriers to free trade, which Americans generally support. Trump keeps touting his 2017 tax cut even though most Americans think it favored the wealthy too much. And Trump is still trying to kill the Affordable Care Act, even as American views of the 2010 law have turned positive. Trump obviously needs his base, but he doesn’t seem to realize he needs other voters too.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter:&nbsp;@rickjnewman. Confidential tip line:&nbsp;[email protected].&nbsp;Encrypted communication available. Click here to&nbsp;get Rick’s stories by email.” data-reactid=”38″>Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman. Confidential tip line: [email protected]Encrypted communication available. Click here to get Rick’s stories by email.

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