As Election Day draws ever closer, the topics nearest and dearest to the candidates’ hearts are scrutinized and criticized, while other public concerns are put on the back burner. Lately, the news and debate have centered on the COVID-19 pandemic and how it’s been handled, Hunter Biden’s emails, and climate change. Not much has been said about immigration, which was one of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises four years ago. So, after Nov. 3, what can we expect regarding illegal immigration from Trump and from Democratic nominee Joe Biden?
Trump and Immigration
The commander in chief plans to continue his aggressive immigration control, building on the foundation he established in 2016. Construction of the border wall is still moving forward, despite attempts to block the progress. The Trump administration has tightened the reins on legal immigration as well as international work visas in an effort to provide more employment for the American people.
Trump’s campaign stresses the need to end human trafficking, and one way to do that is removing “non-citizen gang members” from the country. Chain migration is another program the president is trying to end, as well as “eliminating the Visa Lottery, and moving the country to a merit-based entry system,” according to the White House website.
“We let people in, but they have to come in legally,” Trump said during a recent presidential debate.
At a time when a highly contagious virus is spreading across the world, further reduction of immigration, especially illegal entry, seems like a wise choice. However, Biden’s immigration platform is more about opening borders instead of tightening and securing them.
Biden and Immigration
Biden’s immigration plans revolve around undoing Trump’s policies. According to his website, Biden said that in his first 100 days as president, his administration would “Immediately reverse the Trump Administration’s cruel and senseless policies that separate parents from their children at our border.” During the presidential debate Biden was asked why voters should trust him on this issue since, during the Obama administration, immigration goals were not accomplished. He responded, “We made a mistake. It took too long to get it right.” In the first three months of being elected, he also promised he would:
- “End Trump’s detrimental asylum policies.”
- “Reverse Trump’s public charge rule.”
- “End the so-called National Emergency that siphons federal dollars from the Department of Defense to build a wall.”
- “Rescind the un-American travel and refugee bans, also referred to as ‘Muslim bans.’”
Instead of keeping or adding immigration restrictions, Biden wants to increase the number of refugees allowed into the United States to 125,000 a year. While calling for a more involved watchdog process for ICE and agencies that deal with immigrants, legal or otherwise, he also vowed that, on his first day as president, he would make the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program a permanent policy. He promised to clear a path for millions of undocumented people to be fast-tracked into citizenship. During the debate, Biden said:
“I’ve made it very clear … within 100 days I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people, and all of those so-called Dreamers, those DACA kids, they’re going to be immediately certified again to be able to stay in this country and put on a path to citizenship.”
Immigration controls or open borders? The two platforms, it seems, couldn’t be more different. Trump is pushing for more control, less illegal immigration, and quality international workers, while Biden wants to provide citizenship to DACA, increase the number of refugees, and remove current policies. There just doesn’t seem to be a middle ground that might help ease the undecided voter’s mind.
Read more from Kelli Ballard.