As Americans head to the polls this week the question on immigrants’ minds, like mine, and for those interested in the immigration debate is what is going to happen with immigration. Will the hardline anti-immigration policies remain, or will America get back to a more normal immigration stance where immigrants are blamed but not demonized for what ails the country?
Before looking at the future we should take a moment to look at the past.
Did Donald Trump keep his immigration promises?
Trump promised to build a wall from shining sea to shining sea. Trump also promised that México would pay for the wall. What did America get? America got 371 miles of a new fence, not a wall but a fence. Most of that is replacing old sections of the existing fence line. More important is that México is not paying for the wall. American taxpayers are paying for the fence that was supposed to be a wall.
Trump promised to remove 2 million undocumented immigrants from the country on “day one”. At most, the Trump Administration has removed only 649,240 immigrants from the country. In 2018, the Trump administration removed 337,287 immigrants. That is less than the Obama administration which removed 432,281 undocumented immigrants in 2013.
Donald Trump also promised to end “chain migration”. He never got Congress to buy into his immigration reform even in the Senate that is controlled by the Republicans. Trump has not submitted any proposals to Congress to reform immigration.
However, Donald Trump is not the only thing we should consider. We also need to look at his opponent, Joe Biden.
Will the Democrats again drop the ball on immigration?
Barak Obama promised immigration reform. He did not deliver. Instead Obama continues to have the distinction of deporting more immigrants than even Donald Trump. As we saw above, Obama deported 432,281 in 2013. Trump’s best so far is 337,287.
Like Obama & Trump, Biden is making many promises. But will he deliver?
The first thing Biden will have to deal with is the economic crisis brought on by Covid-19. Like the Affordable Care Act that consumed Obama, the Covid-19 recovery will likely consume Biden, leaving immigrants out on a lurch.
If Trump were to win, nothing will change for immigrants. Trump will just continue to demonize us. A Biden win just means that immigrants can continue to hide in the shadows while Biden deals with the economic crisis.