September 6, 2016

Where Do The U.S. Presidential Candidates Stand On Immigration?

Last week, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gave a major public policy address on immigration. (Click here to view those remarks). How does Trump’s plan compare with his rivals’? As part of its 2016 election coverage, The Wall Street Journal examined his outline and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s. According to The Journal, Clinton:

  • Supports a comprehensive immigration overhaul, including a pathway to citizenship for individuals who are in the U.S. illegally (Clinton’s plan would bar violent criminals from the citizenship process);
  • Supports executive actions issued by the Obama administration that sought to protect millions of people from deportation; and
  • Has tempered her support of the North American Free Trade Agreement, “saying it helped some people and hurt others.”

In contrast, Trump:

  • Wants Mexico to finance a roughly 1,000-mile “wall” on the U.S.’s southern border;
  • Will “impound” all remittance payments sent from people in the United States to Mexico until the “wall” is built;
  • Will triple the number of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers;
  • Will deport the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States;
  • Will enhance penalties for people who overstay visas;
  • Wants to end “birthright citizenship,” which grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States; and
  • Will overturn NAFTA.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson opposes Trump’s “wall” and also opposes imposing “punitive measures on good people.” Instead, Johnson believes the United States “should focus on creating a more efficient system of providing work visas, conducting background checks, and incentivizing non-citizens to pay their taxes, obtain proof of employment, and otherwise assimilate with our diverse society.” Johnson’s website says, “Making it simpler and more efficient to enter the United States legally will provide greater security than a wall by allowing law enforcement to focus on those who threaten our country, not those who want to be a part of it.” 

Green Party candidate Jill Stein, meanwhile, says she supports a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. 

The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) believes the U.S. immigration system is broken because it does not accurately reflect market demand for labor. To bring our laws into the 21st century, MSCI supports:

  • Reforming our green card system so the world’s best and brightest minds will want to live, work and invest in the United States;
  • Streamlining our visa programs and provide additional visas for workers in high-demand industries; and
  • Providing a mechanism for employers to easily and accurately verify the work eligibility of their applicants.