Where Things Stand: What Does Trump’s Immigration Tweet Mean?

This is your TPM early-afternoon briefing.
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... 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) MORE LESS
April 21, 2020 12:25 p.m.

Beyond perpetuating his own political objective, President Trump’s latest Twitter announcement on temporary immigration action likely won’t bring much substantial change to policies or programs his administration has already halted in the wake of the pandemic.

We still don’t know many details of the order, but as administration officials told the Wall Street Journal, even in the absence of this latest executive order, the Trump administration has shut down nearly all facets of immigration since the pandemic erupted in the U.S. What started as a ban on travel from China in January has already escalated to an across-the-board suspension placed on visa processing, refugee programs and border crossing. According to the WSJ, the executive action won’t address the deportation of immigrants already living in the U.S. or visa renewals.

Without providing any details, Trump has also claimed that the executive action would help protect the jobs of American citizens.

While it may lack substantial change, the executive action is illuminating on at least one aspect of the President’s thinking: Trump is either using this crisis to push through strict immigration policy, or he still believes the threat of the spread of the coronavirus is serious. The latter would contradict with his recent campaign to push for the reopening of the economy — a move that most medical experts agree should not be made until the threat of the spread has died down. Here’s more on that and other stories we’re following:

What The Investigations Team Is Watching

Matt Shuham is looking into reports that there’s been a high recovery rate in those infected with the coronavirus in South Dakota.

Kate Riga is following up on the infection rate in Wisconsin after the state forced in-person elections earlier this month.

Tierney Sneed is digging into the new Senate Intelligence Committee’s latest report on the Russia probe.

What The Breaking News Team Is Watching

You won’t find a lot of politicians who would double down on a proposal to let people die in a pandemic to fix the economy, but Texas Lieutenant Gov. Dan Patrick (R) did exactly that on Monday night when he told Fox News host Tucker Carlson that “there are more important things than living.” We’ve been monitoring this kind of rhetoric, coming primarily out of the mouths of Republicans.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) announced that he would allow some businesses to reopen-and apparently didn’t tell the mayor of Atlanta or other state leaders about it. “We really are at a loss,” Atlanta Mayor Keisha Bottoms said on Tuesday morning during a CNN interview. We’ll keep an eye on additional developments as they unfold in Georgia.

Today’s Rundown

4:00 p.m. ET: Trump will host New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) at the Oval Office.

5:00 p.m. ET: The White House coronavirus task force will hold its daily press briefing.

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Trump Calls FBI ‘Human Scum’ For Investigating Russia Ties To His Campaign — Cristina Cabrera

What We Are Reading

It’s 5 O’Clock. Do You Know Where Your President Is? — Dan Zak, Ben Terris and Sarah Ellison

Amazon-Owned Whole Foods Is Quietly Tracking Its Employees With A Heat Map Tool That Ranks Which Stores Are Most At Risk Of Unionizing — Hayley Peterson

ENT In The Time Of COVID: The Peak — Benny Laitman

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