Immigration is one of the most talked about — and most contentious — issues this election season. While Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s often controversial comments on immigration policy have drawn the attention of the media and the general public alike, Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton’s position on the issue is often less reported.
Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Immigration Platform
In many ways, Clinton’s immigration platform stands in stark contrast to that of her rival. Whereas early in Trump’s campaign, the Republican vowed to deport the nation’s undocumented immigrants (though has since softened his stance), Clinton has promised to offer a pathway of citizenship for millions living in the country illegally. She explains that she believes it is “the right thing to do,” and says it “strengthens families, strengthens our economy, and strengthens our country.” In addition to this, she has taken a stance on deferred action programs like DAPA and DACA, rallied against private detention facilities, and has proposed a new federal Office of Immigrant Affairs to better integrate those immigrants currently in the country.
Pathway to Citizenship
“When Donald Trump talks about deporting 11 million people, he’s talking about ripping families apart – separating families like mine.” That’s what Astrid Silva, a 28-year-old immigration activist, said at the Democratic National Convention this past July, adding, “Hillary Clinton understands that this is not who we are as a country…. I know she will fight to keep our families together.”
Indeed, Clinton has said that, in her first 100 days in office, she will offer a comprehensive immigration reform plan to Congress that will provide a full and equal pathway to citizenship. According to her campaign website, her proposal will “treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.”
Expansion of Executive Actions
Clinton has also said that she will defend and expand executive actions taken by President Obama to allow certain undocumented immigrants to remain in the country under the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) programs.
The Clinton camp has strongly criticized a recent Supreme Court deadlock on DAPA, which leaves a lower court ruling to block the plan in place, calling it a “heartbreaking reminder of how high the stakes are in this election.” Her campaign asserts, “Hillary believes DAPA is squarely within the president’s authority and won’t stop fighting until we see it through.”
Integration of Current Immigrants
In April, Clinton proposed the creation of a U.S. Office of Immigrant Affairs, which would coordinate programs and policies among federal agencies and state and local governments. The goal, according to a campaign aide, is to more “fully integrate” immigrants and refugees into communities, and the new office would examine ways to improve immigration services. Some $15 million also would be allotted in new grant funding for community navigators, as well as increased federal resources to support English and citizenship education.
End Detention Centers
Clinton has said she will end family detention and close private detention facilities. A campaign spokesperson in 2015 said, “[Clinton] believes that we should not contract out this core responsibility of the federal government.”
The Affordable Care Act
Clinton also believes in expanding health care coverage to undocumented immigrants through the Affordable Care Act. “If someone can afford to pay for an insurance policy off the exchanges that were set up under the Affordable Care Act, I support that,” she told an audience in March during a televised CNN town hall, adding, “If they can afford it, they should be able to go into the marketplace and buy it.”
End Three- and Ten-year Bars
Clinton promises to repeal a law that she says “makes no sense.” The “three- and 10-year bar” prevents individuals living illegally in the U.S. for six months to a year from coming back into the country for three years; if individuals have lived here illegally for a longer period of time, they are barred from returning for 10 years. Clinton says the legislation forces families “into a heartbreaking dilemma: break apart, or stay together and remain in the shadows.” As such, the candidate says she will end enforcement of the law.
For assistance with immigration requests…
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