What is at stake for Immigrants in the 2016 Election?

The result of the 2016 presidential elections will have a lasting impact on Immigration issues. It is among the most complex and most debated issues. What is at stake isn’t just about building a wall between two countries, there is a scare of possible mass deportation. The next president will have control over discretionary immigration benefits that are currently enjoyed by millions of immigrants. They will also have control over the next Supreme Court Justice, who will in turn will most likely have the determining vote on all immigration challenges. The two presidential candidates have very different views on immigration,

Clinton said, “I think there are three big problems we have to address. One is just the human cost of those 11 million undocumented immigrants. I have met many of them — in fact, we all have, whether we acknowledge it or not. And these are hardworking people. These are people who are already contributing to the economy, whose children are in schools, who are really absolutely committed to the American dream” (ballotpedia).

Trump on the other hand discussed immigration policy, saying, “For those here illegally today who are seeking legal status, they will have one route and one route only. To return home and apply for re-entry like everybody else under the rules of the new legal immigration system that I have outlined today.” Mr. Trump claims that his immigration systems will implement a more detailed and thorough check of immigrants to ensure they are here legally and if not he has stated he will have no hesitation to deport young undocumented immigrants.

Both candidates made the point that immigrants are welcomed if there is evidence of contribution to American society. Trump said, "I think that when you serve in the armed forces, that’s a very special situation, and I could see myself working that out, absolutely.” Along with Hillary’s comment, “We should be deporting criminals, not hardworking immigrant families who do the very best they can and often are keeping economies going in many places in our country.”

Hillary Clinton supports immigration reform with a pathway to citizenship and supports Obama’s executive orders on the DACA and DAPA programs. She said, “I strongly support the president's executive actions. I hope the Supreme Court upholds them. I think there is constitutional and legal authority for the president to have done what he did. I am against the raids. I'm against the kind of inhumane treatment that is now being visited upon families, waking them up in the middle of the night, rounding them up.” Clinton is a supporter of Obama’s expansion on DACA and DAPA, yet she has stated that she will seek to improve the process for which the parents can apply for deferred action status, which is already an implemented policy.

This election isn’t just about building a wall between the U.S. and Mexico, the future of discretionary immigration benefits are also on the line. Temporary Protective Status (TPS) is a status given to national of a country that the U.S. determined that it would be inhumane to deport people to, due to a natural disaster or war. TPS is awarded for 18 months at a time. The next president can decide to either change the program, or to not renew the designation.

The new of Supreme Court Justice is another important focus for immigrants. The next chosen Supreme Court Justice will have a considerable amount of say on immigration. The immigration process is out of Obama’s hands and is now dependent on the next session of Congress. The future of the immigration policy will most likely be determined by the outcome of the presidential election along with many Senate elections this fall. Any future immigration legislation will most likely be challenged in federal courts. The new Supreme Court Justice, will most likely make the deciding vote.

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