Ex-President Donald Trump, a predominant contender for the Republican ticket in the 2024 elections, has avowed to intensify efforts against unauthorized immigration, also proposing limits on the authorized variant should he be reinstated to presidency. He has highlighted several strategies that would be put into play under his potential second term.
Among these strategies includes the reinstatement of his 2019 ‘remain in Mexico’ scheme. This strategy directed asylum-seekers of a non-Mexican origin, trying to cross into the United States via the shared U.S.-Mexico border, to stay put in Mexico whilst their cases were being processed. It’s part of Trump’s comprehensive border enforcement strategy.
Another strategic emphasis from Trump is the stricter handling of migrants apprehended in the act of crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally, or those found in breach of other immigration laws. This includes terminating what he has termed as the ‘catch and release’ policy, with the aim being complete detainment of all noncompliant migrants.
In his inaugural term, Trump highlighted wall construction along the Mexico border as a key measure of border control. Continuing under the same vein, Trump affirms his dedication to seal any existing gaps in wall sections, should he come back to power.
During his prior administration, 450 miles of barriers were erected across the vast 1,954-mile border; a significant proportion of which supplanted pre-existing structures.
Trump voiced intentions to reintroduce travel inclusive of certain ideologies and nationalities, extending his previous Supreme Court approved policy from 2018. As per a statement delivered in the slender weeks of last October, regions such as Gaza Strip, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen, and ‘other regions jeopardizing U.S. security’ might again be subjected to travel restrictions.
Additionally, during a public address in June, Trump signaled plans to prohibit the entrance of individuals identified as communists, Marxists, or socialists into the United States, in a move to maintain a certain ideological boundary.
Intricate part of Trump’s immigration policy is the execution of a large-scale deportation strategy, which he described as the most sweeping in the nation’s history.
The ambition is to deport millions of unauthorized residents each year, as outlined in a report by the New York Times. This would entail comprehensive operations and the establishment of holding facilities for those awaiting expulsion.
Trump’s aggressive approach towards deportation includes a strong focus on those with criminal records and suspected gang affiliations. In this endeavor, he has hinted at leveraging the somewhat obscure 1789 Alien Enemies Act.
Cooperation with local law enforcement agencies and the National Guard are cited as potential mechanisms to expedite the deportation of criminals.
On legal immigration matters, Trump has proposed revisions in May aimed at discontinuing automatic citizenship rights for children born in the U.S to unauthorized migrant parents, a topic he has touched on previously during his presidency.
Although likely to spark legal controversy, it signifies his commitment to revisiting long-standing constitutional interpretations.
In past leadership, Trump greatly reduced refugee admissions into the U.S., and was vocal about his disapproval of President Biden’s subsequent decision to increase refugee intake. If elected, it’s likely he would pause the resettlement scheme yet again, mirroring past moves, as informed by the New York Times.
Additionally, Trump intends to introduce a ‘merit-based immigration system’ to ‘safeguard American labor and promote American values.’ His first term saw him tighten access to certain visa programs and suspend many work visas during the height of the pandemic in an attempt to mitigate the impact on American jobs.
Trump plans to put an end to Biden’s ‘parole’ programs that have permitted numerous migrants with American sponsors to enter the U.S. and obtain work permits, such as Ukrainians and Afghans.
Labeling these as a ‘gross misuse of parole authority,’ he aims to withdraw Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations- a move he attempted during his first term but faced legal challenges.
Regarding family separation, Trump, in a CNN town hall discussion, refused to dismiss the possibility of reinstating his controversial ‘zero tolerance’ policy that gained global criticism for separating migrant families at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2018. Investigations conducted by immigration advocates and government watchdogs found that the separations began before the policy officially began and continued even after.
The Biden administration’s recent proposal to offer separated families temporary legal status and other benefits, and to prohibit similar separations for a minimum period of eight years, brought these policy decisions back into public discussion.
Lastly, ‘Dreamer’ immigrants, who entered the U.S. illegally as children and have been protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, are once again on Trump’s radar. He failed to terminate DACA under his first term, a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in June 2020. Despite this, Trump still plans to challenge DACA’s existence if reelected, as per a New York Times report.