2016 Candidates Stance on Immigration—Donald Trump
Presidential Campaign Winner
Official Immigration Plan
The three core principles of Trump's plan: there must be a wall across the southern border, current immigration laws must be fully enforced, and the interests of American citizens must be put first. | Official Candidate Website
Trump sought advice from true immigration reformer Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest.
FAIR offers the following analysis on five key immigration issues: amnesty; legal immigration; border security; interior enforcement; and taxpayer benefits to illegal aliens.
While his plan does not explicitly mention it, Trump and his surrogates have repeatedly called for a form of “touchback amnesty,” in which illegal aliens are deported and those without criminal records are allowed to quickly return to the U.S. legally. In an interview with CNN, Trump stated that he would “get people out and then have an expedited way of getting them back into the country so they can be legal.” The candidate’s son, Eric Trump, also said that “the point isn’t just deporting them, it’s deporting them and letting them back in legally.” It is unclear, however, whether Trump would grant legal status or citizenship to the illegal aliens who would be allowed to return ahead of those who have complied with our immigration laws.
In his plan, Trump notes that “the influx of foreign workers holds down salaries, keeps unemployment high, and makes it difficult for poor and working class Americans – including immigrants themselves and their children – to earn a middle class wage.” Trump calls for a “pause” in the issuance of green cards during which “employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers.” According to Trump, “this will help reverse women’s plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.” Trump would also increase the prevailing wage for H-1B visas to “force companies to give coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas.” He would also institute a requirement for companies to hire American workers first, as “many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement.” Finally, he vows to end birthright citizenship, welfare abuse by legal immigrants, and the J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth. The J-1 visa program would then be “replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth.”
The first core principle of Trump’s plan is to build a wall along the U.S. southern border, paid for by Mexico because “they are responsible for this [border security] problem, and they must help pay to clean it up.” Until Mexico pays for the wall, a Trump administration would seek to “impound all remittance payments derived from illegal wages, increase visa fees for Mexican CEOs and diplomats, increase fees for border crossing cards, increase fees for NAFTA worker visas, and increase fees at ports of entry to the U.S. from Mexico.” It is worth noting that Mexico’s President has said that his country would not cooperate with Trump’s plan.
The Trump plan calls for increased interior enforcement, but does not get into specifics about the mass deportation he has advocated for while on the campaign trail. He would triple the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to “enforce immigration law against the 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States.” He would also end the harmful “catch-and-release” policy and return all criminal aliens to their home countries. To protect American lives, he would seek to defund dangerous sanctuary city jurisdictions by “cutting off federal grants to any city which refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement.” Regarding workplace enforcement, Trump would institute nationwide E-Verify to “protect jobs for unemployed Americans.” Finally, he would institute enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa and ensure completion of a visa tracking system.
Taxpayer Benefits to Illegal Aliens
According to Trump, “the costs [of illegal immigration] for the United States have been extraordinary: U.S. taxpayers have been asked to pick up hundreds of billions in healthcare costs, housing costs, education costs, welfare costs, etc.” While Trump is clearly aware of the taxpayer burden brought on by illegal immigration, his plan only mentions “accepting the recommendation of the Inspector General for Tax Administration and eliminating tax credit payments” to illegal aliens.