The 2016 Presidential Candidates and Immigration: Reformation Challenges Ahead
The presidential candidates continue to communicate their platform, but perhaps the most polarizing issue of the campaign is the candidates' respective positions on immigration.
Clinton has vocalized her intentions to provide a "path to citizenship" for illegals currently in the country. Her proposal calls for comprehensive immigration reform and continued support for the programs President Barack Obama tried to implement last year - namely, the introduction of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program, which would let parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents remain in the U.S. for three years and apply for work permits, and an expansion to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Most recently the Supreme Court deadlocked on President Barack Obama's executive actions for these two immigration programs, leaving intact an appeals court ruling that said Obama overstepped his authority, along with a trial judge's order preventing the programs from taking effect.
Clinton has also voiced support for an expansion of the H-1B visa program, but has yet to lay out plans for highly skilled immigrants.
Trump has detailed a proposal to put Americans to work building a wall along the Mexican border to stop illegal immigration. He has said he plans to deport all 11 million undocumented immigrants living illegally in the U.S. upon becoming president. In direct opposition of Clinton's plan, he favors increasing wages for H1-B visas and placing new restrictions for up to six years. He has favored a plan to that would require Americans be hired before such visas would be made available to work skilled immigrants.
Trump has also thrown his support toward a broader mandate for E-verify. Currently, only certain federal contractors are mandated to utilize the otherwise voluntary federal verification system. Many states and localities have, however, passed laws to require certain private employers to utilize the system. Trump would support nationwide mandatory use of the program; a stance that has met with some opposition despite the more than 600,000 employers using the program today.
The outcome of the presidential elections will likely move us in one of the above directions, but challenges may remain regardless of the winner. While executive orders may be necessary to move these programs forward, congressional and judicial support may also play key roles.