Vivek Ramaswamy Talks Border Security and Immigration Reform
FAIR Take | July 2023
Sixteen months out from the 2024 election, a few things are clear. A scant 28 percent of Americans are happy with the current administration’s handling of immigration, according to a recent Gallup poll. And voters find the prospect of a Biden-Trump rematch as appealing as a root canal. A Hart Research poll found that 70 percent of voters do not want Joe Biden to seek another term, while 60 percent would prefer to see Donald Trump remain at Mar-a-Lago.
That is what’s known as an opportunity. On the Democratic side, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., much like his father, is running an insurgent campaign attempting to unseat an unpopular incumbent president from his own party. Criticism of President Biden’s border and immigration policies are a central theme of Kennedy’s campaign. While he is still a long-shot, his favorable/unfavorable numbers, 49 percent to 30 percent, are distinctly better than Biden’s 38 percent favorable to 48 percent unfavorable.
While Donald Trump enjoys strong polling numbers among the segment of the electorate that nominates the GOP candidate, he is 19 points underwater with the electorate at-large. Only 34 percent of voters hold a positive view of him, while 53 percent view him negatively (including 44 percent very negative).
To one degree or another, all of the candidates vying for the Republican nomination have vowed to reverse the Biden administration policies that have resulted in record numbers of illegal aliens entering the United States. Vivek Ramaswamy, the 37-year-old high-tech entrepreneur, is the latest weigh-in. Like just about everyone else in the crowded Republican field, he has pledged to complete (or significantly add to) the border security wall.
But Ramaswamy didn’t stop there. His plan to secure our borders includes using the military to augment border security efforts. “I think that building the wall is not and has not been enough. They are now building tunnels underneath that wall, literally underground tunnels that are being used to bring in illegal migrants and even to support human trafficking and drug trafficking,” Ramaswamy said on the campaign trail. “In fact, I think it’s going to be an approach that we will eventually need to seal our own northern border as well,” he continued.
Ramaswamy also called for reinstating the “Remain in Mexico” policy that was scrapped by President Biden when he took office. That policy effectively discouraged people from pursuing frivolous asylum claims by requiring them to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are pending. Ramaswamy also notes that doing so would serve as an inducement for the Mexican government to control its own borders, understanding that many fraudulent asylum seekers actually would remain in Mexico.
Ramaswamy – one of two first-generation children of Indian immigrants seeking the Republican nomination – also places a high value on American citizenship. He wants to end birthright citizenship for the U.S.-born children of illegal aliens. “[I am] somebody who actually celebrates birthright citizenship as a major American accomplishment. Most nations’ identities were founded on an ethnicity or a monarch or a religion, not America’s. America was a country founded on a set of ideals that anybody could be a part of, regardless of their ethnicity,” he said. If ending birthright citizenship for the children of illegal aliens cannot be accomplished legislatively, Ramaswamy would seek a constitutional amendment.
Presidential campaigns are not just about choosing the next leader of our country. They should – and sometimes are – a vehicle to test new ideas for addressing vexing national problems. So far, the 2024 campaign is showcasing different approaches to immigration and border security by candidates from both parties.