CENTER FOR IMMIGRATION STUDIES — Donald Trump took to Twitter last night to respond to Hillary’s speech. Unsurprisingly, the public responded in largest numbers to his tweets referencing immigration. The most popular tweet, which quickly received close to 13,000 retweets and almost 32,000 likes, mentioned Hillary’s push for a 550% increase in refugees while refusing to mention radical Islam. Runners-ups were tweets saying Hillary was “owned” by Wall Street and her vision of “a borderless world where working people have no power, no jobs, no safety.”
The public’s enthusiastic response to these short and specific statements should remind both candidates of the broad spectrum of anxieties that Americans feel regarding the increases in both legal and illegal immigration. Americans legitimately fear the unprecedented large and increasing number of refugees entering the country who cannot be adequately vetted to interdict potential terrorists. Americans also object to the non-stop flow of thousands and thousands of foreigners streaming into the country with leaders unable or unwilling to stop or control the numbers. But security is not the only issue, it’s also jobs, the corporate elite’s financial benefit from immigration to the detriment of poorer Americans, and so much more.
Immigration might well be the political issue that decides the 2016 presidential election. Voters care about immigration – the only public policy issue that impacts all other issues, including national security, crime and community safety, wages and employment, fiscal policy, education, healthcare, the drug epidemic, and the environment. So which presidential candidate advocates policies that keep America safe, help the economy, the American worker and families?
The contrast between the two candidates’ immigration views could not be more distinct. Nowhere has the difference been more apparent than on the stages of the recent national conventions. The Republican National Convention highlighted the rule of law and the impact Americans feel from crime perpetuated by illegal aliens who would not have been in the country if laws were enforced. The parents of those who died at the hands of illegal aliens took the stage and told their stories, pleading that immigration laws be enforced so other families do not suffer the same pain.
The Democrat National Convention brought illegal aliens on stage, highlighting Clinton’s support for an open border and her opposition to the enforcement of federal law. One illegal alien spoke defiantly against Trump for wanting to separate families. Her father came to America, leaving his family, before she and her mother illegally entered to join him. Her point was puzzling since it was her parents who made the decision knowing they were taking a risk by breaking American law and since no one, including Trump, would ever deter them from returning to their homeland together as a family unit.
The candidates’ immigration plans also reveal their contrasting views on the role of immigration to a country and her citizens. Please examine the two immigration plans (see here for Jon Feere’s comparison) – Trumps’ plan to Make America Great Again, which returns time and time again to immigration policy’s role in helping build America and helping citizens and legal immigrants achieve the American dream, and Clinton’s plan for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, which almost exclusively speaks to providing illegal aliens a path to citizenship and allowing their family members the same.