One Year of Immigration Under Trump

Source: The Intercept

Donald Trump made his formal entry into politics with the racism and xenophobia that would become a hallmark of his lightning-rod candidacy and, ultimately, his first year in the Oval Office.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,” he said in his presidential announcement speech. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”

“It’s coming from more than Mexico,” Trump continued. “It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East.”

Fast forward 2 1/2 years. Trump is wrapping up his first calendar year as president, and he’s failed to make policy progress on many of his campaign promises. But when it comes to immigration, the president has proven to be much more than just a big talker. In his first year, he’s significantly uprooted immigration policy, tearing apart the families of longtime residents and erecting significant barriers in the face of would-be immigrants to the United States.

“I think it’s clear that this administration wants to bring any sort of immigration to the U.S. to a halt, whether it’s legal or what’s touted as illegal immigration,” said Annaluisa Padilla, a California-based immigration attorney and president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “The administration simply does not want any immigrants.”

The Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based think tank, released a policy brief this month on shifts in immigration policy since Trump’s election that reached the same conclusion.

“For a long time, there’s been bipartisan consensus that immigration overall is good for the country, it’s good for the economy, it’s good for society, and it’s integral to our history as a country,” report co-author Sarah Pierce told The Intercept. “But this president has completely broken from that history and is seriously advocating for a reduction in legal immigration.”

Indeed, the White House recently called for an end to “chain migration,” which it defines as “the process by which foreign nationals resettle within the U.S. and subsequently bring over their foreign relatives, who then have the opportunity to bring over their foreign relatives, and so on.” The term is popular among anti-immigrant hard-liners, including former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke. The president has also endorsed the RAISE Act, a Senate Republican bill that proposes major cuts to family immigration and the creation of a points system to select immigrants for employment sponsorship.

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