The policy gap between presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton is unprecedented, particularly when it comes to one of the most controversial issues in this election cycle — US immigration reform.
Trump is determined to a build a wall and potentially deport some immigrants living in the US illegally, while Clinton has pledged to protect some undocumented immigrants from deportation and help them integrate into American society.
Experts from all sides of the immigration debate have criticised both candidates’ plans to varying degrees. Some have cast Trump’s proposals as “un-American“and Clinton’s as “undermining immigration laws.”
Business Insider takes a closer look at where Donald Trump stands on immigration reform — specifically on border security, deportations, refugee resettlement, detentions, paths to citizenship, visas, and work permits.
Donald Trump’s most prominent proposal — building a wall along the US-Mexico border — includes assertions that Mexico will pay for the wall, which would could cost between $5 billion to $10 billion, according to the Trump campaign.
“I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will have Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump first told the crowd when announcing his presidential bid in June 2015 and has said at almost every campaign rally.
If Mexico cannot make a one-time payment, a Trump administration could compel the country to pay for the wall in several different ways, like intercepting wire transfers initiated by undocumented immigrants. Only those who can prove their legal status would be allowed to wire money outside the US. Trump also proposes increasing fees on visas, tariffs, and border-crossing cards — a major cause of overstays.
After meeting with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, who made it clear last month thatMexico would not pay for the wall, Trump recommitted his support for a physical wall and insisted Mexico will “100%” foot the bill.
Trump vowed to deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants when he launched his campaign in June last year. He promised to create a “deportation force” and to impose criminal penalties on those immigrants whom he painted as rapists and drug dealers.
This area of the real-estate mogul’s immigration platform proposes tripling the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers from 5,000 to 15,000. Trump also wants ICE officers to cooperate with local law-enforcement on gang raids, specifically targeting undocumented immigrants who are believed to have gang connections.
But the candidate has been wavering on his overall immigration platform of late. The Trump campaign spent several days in August adjusting its tone and language on the matter.
“There could certainly be a softening,” Trump said in an August interview with Fox News’s Sean Hannity, “because we’re not looking to hurt people.”
He then quickly refused to rule out some form of mass deportation, returning to a hardline approach reminiscent of the primary campaign.
Trump’s stance on refugee resettlement focuses primary on screening refugees who seek asylum in the US. He called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” following the San Bernardino shootings, shifted to a temporary ban applied to immigrants with “a proven history of terrorism,” then linked Syrian refugees to ISIS.
“We don’t know who they are. It could be one of the great Trojan horses,” Trump has said.
Trump has pledged to end catch-and-release practices, and detain and deport immigrants caught illegally crossing the US-Mexico border. But he recently told Bill O’Reilly that he was “not going to put [immigrants] in a detention center.”
Path to citizenship
Trump wants to end birthright citizenship — which he claims as “the biggest magnet for illegal immigration” — suspending the policy that grants automatic citizenship to children of undocumented parents born in the US.
He believes that immigrants won’t fully assimilate with American culture and proposes an “ideological certification” test to ensure the “right” immigrants get into the country — those who share American values and “love” American people.
Trump also proposes defunding sanctuary cities that shelter illegal immigrants — where local police departments refuse to contact immigration officials when they apprehend undocumented aliens.
Visas and work permits
He wants to boost wages paid to H-1B visa recipients so that companies will be forced to give entry-level jobs to unemployed Americans, and regulate visas like the H-1B to require companies to first turn to the domestic workers before recruiting foreign workers.
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