It seems to be the most polarizing election in decades: two candidates with very distinct visions of the United States. And it’s no surprise that immigration has emerged as one of the most divisive issues of the 2016 election. Each candidate has outlined his/her plan for immigration reform on his/her website. While both favor border security, in every other respect they are at odds. Trump has been criticized as being overly extreme in his overtly anti-immigrant stances. Meanwhile, Clinton has been called too lax on immigration policies. To help you make up your own mind this November, here’s a look on where each candidate stands on immigration reform.
Donald J. Trump
“The US has become a dumping ground for everybody else’s problems… And these aren’t the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. They’re not sending you. They’re not sending you. They’re sending people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us [sic]. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people. But I speak to border guards, and they tell us what we’re getting. And it only makes common sense. It only makes common sense. They’re sending us not the right people; it’s coming from more than Mexico. It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably, probably, from the Middle East. But we don’t know, cause we have no protection, and we have no competence. We don’t know what’s happening. And it’s gotta stop. And it’s gotta stop fast.” June 16, 2015.
Trump’s plan includes:
- Building a wall along the U.S./Mexico border, and ensuring Mexico will pay for said wall.
- Tripling the number of ICE officers.
- Mandatory nationwide e-verify.
- Mandatory return of criminal aliens (although the plan doesn’t specify what severity of crime would qualify).
- Detention not “catch-and-release.”
- Defunding sanctuary cities.
- Increasing penalties for overstaying visas through the completion of a visa tracking system.
- Ending birthright citizenship.
- Requiring employers to hire American workers first.
- Increasing the prevailing wage for H-1B visas.
- Ending welfare abuse by requiring those entering to demonstrate that they can pay for their own housing, healthcare, and other needs before coming to the U.S.
- Terminating the J-1 visa program and replacing it with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers of the current J-1 program.
- Increasing standards for the admission of refugees and asylum seekers to crack down on abuse.
Trump’s immigration plan can be found on his website at https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/immigration-reform.
Hillary R. Clinton
“We claim that we are for families. We have to pull together and resolve the outstanding issues around our broken immigration system. The American people support comprehensive immigration reform, not just because it’s the right thing to do (and it is), but because they know it strengthens families, strengthens our economy, and strengthens our country. That’s why we can’t wait any longer, we can’t wait any longer for a path to full and equal citizenship… I will fight to stop partisan attacks on the executive actions that would put Dreamers, including those with us today, at risk of deportation. And if Congress continues to refuse to act, as President I would do everything possible under the law to go even further.” May 5, 2015.
Clinton’s plan includes:
- Introducing comprehensive immigration reform within her first 100 days in office that includes a pathway to full and equal citizenship.
- Promising to fix the visa backlog, protect borders, and bring hard workers into the formal economy through this reform.
- Ending the 3 and 10 year bars to gain residency that currently exist for those unlawfully present.
- Defending DACA – Obama’s executive actions.
- Doing “everything possible under the law” to protect families.
- Enforcing immigration laws “humanely.”
- Ending family detention.
- Closing privately owned detention centers.
- Allowing all families despite status to buy into the Affordable Care Act and purchase health insurance.
- Creating fee waivers to alleviate naturalization costs.
- Increasing access to language programs to encourage learning English.
- Increasing education on navigating the citizenship process.
Clinton’s immigration plan can be found on her website at https://www.hillaryclinton.com/issues/immigration-reform/.