On April 20, 2020, President Trump announced his newest attack on immigrants. Using the COVID-19 pandemic (which he dubbed the “Invisible Enemy”) as pretext, Trump tweeted that he “will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!”
According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the resulting executive order blocking the issuance of new green cards was drafted by presidential advisor Stephen Miller and Robert Law, the chief of the Office of Policy and Strategy for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Both Miller and Law have ties to anti-immigrant hate groups. And Miller seemingly confirmed everyone’s worst fears about the order when he acknowledged he was seeking to make these “temporary” changes long-term.
Other white nationalists and far-right activists applauded the announcement of the new policy, especially people aligned with the racist “groyper” movement.
“The United States doesn’t need anymore immigrants,” tweeted racist and antisemitic podcaster Nick Fuentes. “Not now during the coronavirus, not three months ago before the crisis, and not after the pandemic is over. Suspend all immigration into our country INDEFINITELY!”
White nationalist Scott Greer claimed that the “Groyper War” — the fight between white nationalists who profess to believe in an “America First” ideology and mainstream conservatives — “got us to this moment.” In a separate tweet, he said Trump “should sign the immigration moratorium order at the Statue of Liberty.”
Unite the Right attendee “Millennial” Matt Colligan retweeted President Trump and wrote “THANK YOU!!! #AmericaFirst!” White nationalist and leader of the hate group American Identity Movement Patrick Casey tweeted his excitement that the order was announced on his birthday:
Far-right pundit Michelle Malkin, who recently made a guest appearance on a white nationalist podcast, tweeted “FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #immigrationmoratorium #americafirst.”
She also wrote in response to criticism of the announcement, “It’s a good day for America when both SPLC and Koch #OpenBordersInc lobby are mad about #immigrationmoratorium progress.”
The tweet was retweeted by Faith Goldy, a white nationalist who was fired by the right-wing website The Rebel in 2017 after she was interviewed on the Neo-Nazi podcast The Krypto Report:
Goldy, who now works at the white nationalist website VDARE, crowed that there “could never be a time more perfect for enacting an anti-immigration agenda.”
Antisemitic white nationalist Angelo John Gage mocked people “complaining about halting immigration to ensure no further infections could result from people coming here, which is how this all started.”
In an April 21, 2020 video white nationalist Stefan Molyneux ghoulishly remarked that the ban cheered him up after the death of his father. “[W]e must take our joys in life where we can,” Molyneux told viewers after reading Trump’s tweet.
Molyneux repeated a favorite claim of his, which is that immigration “swells government” because “just about everybody who moves to the West, particularly from the Third World, votes socialist.” He said that since “Communists” cannot convince Americans to embrace socialism, they’re instead working on “replacing the population.”
And he went on to say, “The leftists, of course, by focusing on non-white immigration have this terrible, horrible, beautiful, hellish scheme wherein, because they focused on importing people who are not white, anybody who criticizes immigration can be called a racist and their life can be destroyed.”
Molyneux then pivoted to defending his habit of “judg[ing] groups by their aggregate.” As he put it, “aggregate characteristics matter” and “non-whites” — in this case “blacks, Hispanics, East Asians (Chinese, Japanese, and so on) Jewish people and so on” — “overwhelmingly vote for the Left.”
This belief, that white people are systematically being “replaced” by immigrants of color, is known as the “great replacement” conspiracy. In 2019 alone it has explicitly motivated at least three terrorist attacks that resulted in a combined 75 deaths.
Other white nationalists sounded more critical.
At the antisemitic podcast The Daily Shoah, co-hosts Mike “Enoch” Peinovich, Jesse “Sven” Dunstan, and Alex McNabb chastised other white nationalists for taking a premature “victory lap” in response to Trump’s tweet. They pointed out that the ban was not only temporary, but carried several exemptions.
Peinovich, sounding despondent, said that “[e]ven if [he] wanted to believe” he wouldn’t have “jumped the gun on this,” and admitted he had previously been fooled into thinking Trump would eliminate birthright citizenship.
“Can we deport Donald Trump? Can we do that?” Mcnabb asked.
Dunstan complained that the exemptions to the executive order covered “everything you would possibly want to limit at this point.” He said that the “people who are coming into the country and taking up job positions all over the country” are the ones “not being restricted.”
And Richard Spencer tweeted that the executive order “obviously makes sense,” but lamented that the move was “explicitly temporary.” He added that “[r]eal immigration reform must go through Congress” and would need more than just “tweaking.”