Contrasting approaches in immigration policy between Democrats and Republicans

Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) cited a poll last May showing strong public support for immigration reform (Bipartisan Border Act). He said, «A large majority of voters, 84%, believe we should prioritize reforming our immigration system over sticking to the status quo.» The bill stalled, according to Carper, «at Trump’s instigation,» as he encouraged Republican senators on social media not to spend more time on the immigration issue until they have «more senators and congressmen in November.»

Last December, in a campaign speech in Reno, Nevada, Trump shared his plans to carry out «the largest deportation in America’s history.» Recently, he boasted about his idea of using local police to achieve this in his interview on «FOX & Friends Weekend» (unedited transcript), just days after being found guilty in his latest trial by a New York jury. There, the former president spoke of using local police to identify potential deportees. At minute 37:31, he noted that «…you’ll get rid of 10 really bad people and a lovely mother (…) The way to get rid of them is with local police. The local police know these people by their first name, middle name, and last name. The local police are great. They just aren’t allowed to do their job.

They’re afraid of losing their pension. They’re afraid of losing their wife or husband.» This use of local police in a federal matter like undocumented immigrants is not new. In an interview with CNN, Trump referred to «Operation Wetback,» which took place in 1954 under the Eisenhower administration. This is something he also promised in 2016.

It seems that now Trump wants to militarize the issue (using the National Guard), but initially using local police forces and focusing on any immigrant with a criminal record. He stated that the deportation would be immediate: «We are not going to leave them in the country. We are taking them out.» He would use federal money to pressure local police. Any action Trump takes will likely be challenged in court, announced the ACLU, which is already working on how to legally counter potential immigration measures that Trump could adopt if he becomes president. According to data from the past few decades, it is estimated that there are around 10 million undocumented immigrants in the United States, of which about seven million are identified by ICE, which maintains a database of those eligible for deportation whose asylum and immigration cases are pending.

Approximately 1.3 million people remain in the United States after receiving a deportation order from an immigration judge; these individuals could potentially be deported if detained, as they are the easiest to deport since they already have an open case. The current figures make it difficult to account for the thousands of immigrants who have been entering while seeking asylum; but news reports describe the migratory waves around the world, especially the situation at the southern border.

For analysts, the polls disapproving of President Biden’s immigration policy—and the fact that this is one of Trump’s major arguments against him—were the reason Biden issued the executive order on June 4th aimed at curbing irregular immigration at the southern border.

The actions anticipated to restrict the entry of undocumented immigrants would only take effect when the southern border is overwhelmed (high government officials said the restriction would be lifted when there is a daily average of fewer than 1,500 encounters at ports of entry and activated when those encounters reach 2,500).

For Rafael Collazo, executive director of the UnidosUS Action Fund, «…This measure does not address the comprehensive reform that our community really needs. While the order addresses the immediate problem of border crossings, it does not target the real culprits: human traffickers and drug smugglers who exploit desperate migrants…».

Michael Whatley, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), believes that «If Joe Biden wanted to end the border bloodbath, he would reinstate President Trump’s America First policies, which kept criminals and terrorists out.» There is a roadmap in case of a Republican victory: Project 2025. It includes a manual that on page 149, «State and Local Law Enforcement,» mentions the eventual authorization by Congress for state and local law enforcement to participate in immigration and border security actions by Arizona vs. United States.

It also calls for compliance with immigration detainers to the fullest extent compatible with the Tenth Amendment and the establishment of financial disincentives for jurisdictions that implement official or unofficial sanctuary policies. Just four days after Biden’s executive order went into effect, Trump’s campaign launched the «Latino Americans for Trump» coalition. During its presentation, it was stated that «Latinos support immigration policies that allow for the orderly and legal entry and formalization of immigrants into the United States and, consequently, disapprove of how millions have been allowed to cross the border illegally.

El senador demócrata por California, Alex Padilla, habla durante una rueda de prensa de organizaciones proinmigrantes celebrada este miércoles, con motivo de los 12 años del programa Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia (DACA) frente al congreso en Washington (EE. UU.). (Foto: EFE/Lenin Nolly)

They overwhelmingly trust Trump more than Biden in his approach to addressing border security and immigration.» Meanwhile, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has shared with The Associated Press a memorandum offering potential legal responses to Trump’s immigration policy. Senator Carper, before the United States Senate, said that only a bipartisan solution on immigration would be lasting: «As United States senators, we are elected to serve the American people and could fulfill that responsibility by enacting the legislation before us.

Our three colleagues have demonstrated that working together is possible. Now it is up to the rest of us to do the right thing. Let’s finish the job.

Let’s implement a lasting solution. And let’s do it together.» Last Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers called on Biden to take urgent measures to protect the ‘Dreamers.’ Senator Alex Padilla and Representatives Delia Ramírez, Sylvia García, and Rashida Tlaib participated in a press conference with pro-immigrant organizations in Congress to mark the 12th anniversary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which is being celebrated this week. Over the years, DACA has faced numerous legal challenges and is currently before a federal appeals court that is reviewing its legality.

For these lawmakers, who have not been able to pass a law in Congress to permanently protect these ‘Dreamers’ due to opposition from most Republicans, the only solution left is for Biden to adopt an executive measure. Padilla reminded that «12 years ago, life changed for hundreds of thousands of families across the country» thanks to DACA. Finally, García was critical of the decision Biden made last week to limit asylum applications at the border with Mexico. «Instead of wasting valuable time pushing Trump-era policies, our president should be providing relief to ‘Dreamers’ and other immigrants living in our country. In the long term,» she said.

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Virginia Esteban-Somalo
Originaria de España, en la pasada década ha acumulado éxitos en su nuevo hogar en el estado de Delaware. Sus columnas y artículos han sido publicados tanto en medios nacionales como internacionales (entre otros HOY en Delaware, el periódico hispano más grande y antiguo del Primer Estado, del cual es editora). Ha recibido importantes premios de periodismo de la Asociación Nacional de Publicaciones Hispanas (NAHP por sus siglas en inglés) y Asociación de la Prensa de Delaware (DPA por sus siglas en inglés), entre otros, como el “José Martí Gold Award” a la Columna Editorial Destacada por NAHP, y ha sido reconocida por su trayectoria con el premio “Hispanic Community Journalism Excellence Award” en los Delaware Hispanic Awards. Activa en organizaciones comunitarias, se siente especialmente orgullosa de haber impactado en el mundo de las artes en Delaware y alrededores, a través del Festival de la Herencia Hispana (Hispanic Heritage Festival) organizado por HOY en Delaware en Wilmington, DE desde 2017.


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