Immigration – What might it look like under each administration? This is a question that many ask – in fact, it is the sixth most important issue when voting for a candidate. Here is a brief glimpse:
Trump: If reelected, he will continue with his “America First” policy. So far, during his presidency, a portion of his border wall has been built and other aspects of border security has increased. Americanactionforum.org summarizes it this way: “Over the past 45 months, he has been able implement a number of his immigration plans. The border has been beefed up, refugee admissions have been decreased, H-1B (skilled worker) visas issuance has been improved, and restrictions have been placed on certain individuals from countries deemed to pose a national security or terrorism threat. ... The Trump administration has also issued a revised "public charge" rule, barring immigrants who are likely to receive public benefits from receiving green cards.”
The big question, of course, is what about DACA? As many know, he tried to discontinue it, was challenged in court and lost the case for the moment. However, he did not reinstate new applications as expected, and decreased permits to only a year. Nevertheless, he has not expressed a desire to deport DACA recipients and candidates, rather, more than anything, it has been a means to pressure Congress to act and pass comprehensive immigration reform.
If Biden is elected, he has stated that he will discontinue most Trump-administration immigration initiatives, and reinstate and expand administrative actions taken by the "Obama-Biden administration". This includes DACA. Significantly, Biden has stated that he will impose a 100-day moratorium (from his inauguration) on removals, and then will only deport aliens convicted of "felonies" thereafter. He has even threatened to fire ICE officers who arrest and deport any otherwise removable alien who has not been convicted of such a "felony".Biden also seeks to work with Congress to pass an amnesty for "nearly 11 million undocumented immigrants".
And ultimately, for any permanent reform, Congress will have to act. Every four years, presidents can implement certain policies through executive actions, but for major, longstanding actions, they will need to be passed through the legislature – and they have not been able to agree on it for 20 years. Let’s hope they will finally get their act together and it will happen!