(LOS ANGELES) – Thomas A. Saenz, president and general counsel of MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) issued the following statement in response to Donald J. Trump’s order today imposing severe limits on immigration to the United States, with few exceptions:

“Donald Trump's proclamation today, purporting to restrict certain immigration to the United States in response to the COVID-19 crisis, is a desperate and nightmarish Frankenstein of nativism, hypocrisy, phony economics, and attempted political diversion.

“The proclamation begins with a recitation of simplistic and faulty assertions about rudimentary labor economics, whose sole purpose is to sow division in the vain hope of reviving political support that Trump is rapidly losing through his pathetic performance during the current pandemic.

“The proclamation follows with a troubling arrogation of quasi-dictatorial powers that is in transparent tension with Trump's assertion of his own executive impotence — an assertion still pending before the U.S. Supreme Court — when it comes to protecting recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).

“A president who cared about labor economics and about the working people of this country would long ago have acted to ensure that recipients of DACA and of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) could remain contributors in our then full-employment economy.  Even now, a real president would understand and protect the ongoing contributions of current and future immigrants to our nation's growth and recovery as an economy and as a society.

“It is clear that our nation's true ‘Invisible Enemy' Trump tweeted about two days ago is his own corrupt and racist heart.”