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Only 23% of Americans believe the government is doing a good job handling the influx of migrants seeking asylum at the border.

Generally, Republicans and Democrats both agree that increased staffing is important at the border, though Republicans are stronger in this belief. Similarly, both parties believe that the government should require people to apply for asylum before migrating to the U.S. However, Democrats are more likely to support increased aid to Central American countries and advocate for more sanitary conditions for asylum seekers. Republicans, on the other hand, generally believe that it should be harder for asylum seekers to be granted legal status with 52% believing it is “very important to require people seeking asylum in the U.S. to apply before they travel to the border.”

Subissues:


Authorized/Unauthorized Entry

Joe Biden (D):

In terms of legal immigration, Biden raised the refugee admission cap to 125,000, but ended up only using 20% of those refugee spots in 2022. In response, he opened a back door for immigration offering refuge to people from Ukraine, Haiti, and Latin America and promising faster work authorization. His humanitarian parole program has given temporary legal status to Latin American immigrants. He has also expanded the limits for family-based green cards, also known as chain migration. Biden has expressed his support for diversity and H-1B visas. In contrast to his relatively lax legal immigration policy, he previously extended Title 42, restricting immigration in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dean Phillips (D):

He helped provide permanent status for Liberian refugees, many of whom have lived in America legally for decades.

Nikki Haley (R):

As governor of South Carolina, she signed a law requiring businesses to check immigration status of employees, She believes that legal immigration should be based on merit, talent, and business needs: “Let's not do it just because people happen to cross the fence and get away,” Like other Republican candidates, she has advocated to end the catch-and-release immigration policy.

Donald Trump (R):

He supports limits on legal immigration and visas, such as by raising visa fees to fund the border wall. He opposes the H-1B visa program which allows companies to employ foreign workers in specialized industries. As president, he banned travelers from majority-Muslim countries for 90 days via an executive order. He also slashed the State Department’s refugee resettlement program, limiting the yearly refugee admissions cap to 15,000.

Cornel West (Ind.): Not enough information.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Ind.)

He advocates for more efficient asylum court judges to reduce the time per case.


The Border

Joe Biden (D): Against the completion of the wall.

He pushed for enhanced border security and deployed 23,000 agents at the border. He remains firmly against the construction of the wall; though he has built parts of the wall, the funds for those parts were already appropriated for them.

Dean Phillips (D): Against the completion of the wall.

He supported the use of emergency funds to provide increased resources for border patrol agents and to ensure humane conditions in border detention facilities.

Nikki Haley (R): Supports the completion of the wall.

She pledged to add 25,000 border agents to the border and send military force in Mexico to fight drug cartels. She is against the separation of families at the border.

Donald Trump (R): Supports the completion of the wall.

Building a wall was a signature promise of his presidential campaign. Under his presidency, a quarter of the border had been walled off.  His zero-tolerance policy separated migrant families, a policy that he has not ruled out recently. He would order a “massive increase” in border patrol agents to tighten surveillance at the border.

Cornel West (Ind.): Against the completion of the wall.

He is against the separation of families at the border. He also wishes to abolish ICE and to demilitarize the border.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Ind.): Supports the completion of the wall.

He has pitched the completion of the border wall, but has also emphasized collaboration with Mexico at the border.


Sanctuary Cities

Cities that limit cooperation between local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities.

Joe Biden (D): Supports sanctuary cities.

His administration urged the Supreme Court to dismiss several pending cases concerning sanctuary cities.

Dean Phillips (D): Supports sanctuary cities.

He has stated he would support a plan to make Minnesota a sanctuary state.

Nikki Haley (R): Against sanctuary cities.

She has promised to defund sanctuary cities of federal aid money.

Donald Trump (R): Against sanctuary cities.

As president, he signed an executive order to limit and prohibit certain federal funding to sanctuary cities.

Cornel West (Ind.): Not enough information.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Ind.) Not enough information.


Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

Joe Biden (D): Supports DACA.

He proposed a plan to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program by increasing health coverage for eligible recipients.

Dean Phillips (D): Supports DACA.

He supports DACA, introducing legislation to offer pathways to citizenship for eligible recipients.

Nikki Haley (R): Against DACA.

She is against DACA, calling to deport unauthorized immigrants.

Donald Trump (R): Against DACA.

He attempted to end DACA under his presidency and his administration sought to reject new applications for it.

Cornel West (Ind.): Not enough information.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr (Ind.): Not enough information.


Citizenship

Joe Biden (D): Supports legal pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

He proposed an eight-year pathway for unauthorized immigrants to become legal citizens.

Dean Phillips (D): Supports legal pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

He introduced legislation to provide a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients as well as Temporary Protected Status recipients if they meet certain criteria.

Nikki Haley (R): Supports a repeal of birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants.

She wants to limit birthright citizenship: “For the 5 million people who've entered our country illegally, I am against birthright citizenship.” She is also against a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

Donald Trump (R): Supports a repeal of birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants.

He once tried to end birthright citizenship via an executive order. However, he once proposed a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized youth immigrants; this was done in exchange for tighter restrictions on legal immigration and greater funding for border security.

Cornel West (Ind.): Supports a legal pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

He supports the creation of a legal pathway of unauthorized immigrants for residency.

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. (Ind.): Supports a legal pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

He advocates for a path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.


Candidates Who Have Dropped Out

Authorized/Unauthorized Entry

Doug Burgum (R):

Burgum signed legislation as governor of North Dakota to help businesses recruit and integrate legal immigrants in the workforce. He opposed transporting immigrants to North Dakota as governor. However, he also proposed a streamlined pathway for the legal immigration of highly educated immigrants.

Chris Christie (R):

Christie supports the rollback of Biden’s executive order which shielded some immigrants from deportation.

Ron DeSantis (R):

DeSantis supports E-Verify, a process that requires employers to check the immigration status of their workers. He opposes catch-and-release immigration policies that allow immigrants to be released in the country until their asylum court dates. As governor of Florida, he issued a mandate to law enforcement to stop drivers suspected of transporting unauthorized immigrants into Florida. He also created a program, SB 6B, to transport unauthorized immigrants within the US, rerouting unauthorized immigrants in Florida to sanctuary states.

Vivek Ramaswamy (R):

He believes that legal immigration should run on a “meritocratic” points system; he opposes the H-1B visa program, despite his past use of the system.

The Border

 

Marianne Williamson (D): Against the completion of the wall.

She has pushed to end the separation of families at the border and to reunite prior separations. She has also called to abolish ICE and instead redirect funding to processing centers.

Doug Burgum (R): Unclear.

He supports stronger surveillance at the border and urged for the restoration of pre-pandemic surveillance. He pushed to give increased funding and resources to border agents. As governor, he sent the North Dakota National Guard to the border.

Chris Christie (R): Supports the completion of the wall.

He supports the completion of the wall and increased surveillance at the border. He proposed sending the National Guard into Mexico and possible further action if drug cartels were not stopped there.

Ron DeSantis (R): Supports the completion of the wall.

He pledged to use military force at border and lethal force against cartel members. He supports the full completion of the wall and has vowed to make Mexico pay for its construction.

Vivek Ramaswamy (R): Supports the completion of the wall.

He has advocated beyond building a wall, instead pushing to seal the border.: “We do have to seal that Southern border. Building the wall is not enough. They're building cartel-financed tunnels underneath that wall.” He has also called for the usage of military force at the border, including drone strikes on cartels.

Sanctuary Cities

Marianne Williamson (D): Supports sanctuary cities.

Her voter base has suggested that she believes that sanctuary cities should receive federal funding. 

Doug Burgum (R): Against sanctuary cities.

As governor, he signed a bill to ban sanctuary cities in the state of North Dakota.

Chris Christie (R): Against sanctuary cities.

He supports defunding sanctuary cities of federal money. However, as governor of New Jersey, he did not cut state funding to sanctuary cities such as Newark.

Ron DeSantis (R): Against sanctuary cities.

He is against sanctuary cities, claiming that he will ”deputize all state and local governments” to enforce immigration law in all cities.

Vivek Ramaswamy (R): Against sanctuary cities.

He has advocated to defund sanctuary cities of federal aid money.

Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)

 

Marianne Williamson (D): Supports DACA.

She supports DACA, advocating to allow unauthorized immigrants to petition for a Green Card.

Doug Burgum (R): Against DACA.

His voter base has suggested that he does not support DACA or offering unauthorized immigrants in-state tuition rates at public colleges.

Chris Christie (R): Supports DACA.

He supported allowing unauthorized immigrants to be offered in-state tuition rates at public collegfes within their residing state under the New Jersey DREAM Act.

Ron DeSantis (R): Against DACA.

He opposes any path for DACA recipients to become U.S. citizens and further voted to ban them from military service. He has also proposed a repeal of in-state tuition for DACA recipients.

Vivek Ramaswamy (R): Against DACA.

He is against DACA, proposing to deport children of unauthorized immigrants.

Citizenship

Doug Burgum (R): Potentially supports a legal pathway to citizenship.

His voter base has suggested that he support creating a simple path to citizenship for immigrants with no criminal record and that children of unauthorized immigrants should be granted legal citizenship if they were born in the U.S.

Chris Christie (R): Against a legal pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

He opposes a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. However, he is noncommittal on an end to birthright citizenship and believes that ending it would be too simplistic: "The idea of … ending birthright citizenship all sounds appealing in some respects to some folks. But I just think it's a very complicated problem.”

Ron DeSantis (R): Supports a repeal of birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants.

He has pledged to end the birthright citizenship of the children of unauthorized immigrants.

Vivek Ramaswamy (R): Supports a repeal of birthright citizenship for children of unauthorized immigrants.

He opposes a path to legal citizenship for unauthorized immigrants. He also wishes to end birthright citizenship and deport the children of unauthorized immigrants born in the US. However, he is open to a re-entry process after deportation. He also acknowledges the constitutional debate over this policy: "There are legally contested questions under the 14th Amendment of whether the child of an unauthorized immigrant is indeed a child who enjoys birthright citizenship." 

Marianne Williamson (D): Supports legal pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.

She supports a pathway to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants.


This blog was written by Harry Ding, content intern (Center bias). It was reviewed and edited by Editor-in-chief Henry A. Brechter (Center bias), content assistants Malayna Bizier (Right bias) and Johnathon Held (Lean Right bias), and News Editor Joseph Ratliff (Lean Left bias).