The State of the Immigration Debate Leading into the Midterms
Immigration has been a huge issue in the United States for years. However, under the current administration, the topic has skyrocketed into stratospheric proportions. With the midterms literally days away, now is as good a time as any to break down the state of the immigration debate.
Immigration is currently one of, if not the most important subjects going into the midterm election. On one side, there are those who believe that people who enter the country illegally should be deported immediately because they are a drain on the resources of actual Americans. On the other side, there are people who take a much more “no harm, no foul” approach.
The Current Administration
While campaigning, the current President made immigration reform one of his biggest talking points. As President, he has more or less lived up to those claims by instituting travel bans, crackdowns on sanctuary cities, expedited deportations, more vigorous enforcement, and executive orders that make it easier to detain and deport undocumented immigrants regardless of their family situation. The only campaign promise that has thus far eluded him is perhaps the crown jewel of his proposed immigration policy – his border wall.
The Recent State of Things
The President’s hardline policy was actually beginning to get him in a bit of political trouble. There were pictures of what appeared to be screaming children being ripped from their parents. There were stories or toddlers being forced to defend themselves in front of judges in immigration court. None of it was a good look, even to those who support stricter immigration law.
The narrative changed, however, when a caravan of thousands of Central Americans began moving towards the United States with the stated purpose of gaining asylum. It gave the current administration something to point at to show the need for stronger immigration law.
They stepped up the rhetoric with claims of terrorist and gang members mixed into the giant crowd of people. They even sent the military to help “maintain order and protect our border.”
However, many believe much of this to be political posturing. While the caravan is being portrayed as an invasion force by the Trump Administration, skeptics are pointing to similar circumstances that arose in April of this year. A caravan of around the same size was headed to the United States. Ultimately the most that happened was that 14 people were arrested. It was a non-issue.
Others are questioning the motives behind sending thousands of troops the border two full months before the caravan is expected to arrive. Most are calling it a political stunt, seeing as the midterms are a little under a week away.
A preview for an interview set to be released soon shows the President saying that he has not only the intention, but also the power to end birthright citizenship protections. This is a protection provided by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. This would mean that children of immigrants born in America would no longer automatically be American citizens. The hope is that this will detour immigrants from coming to the country illegally to give their kids a shot at a better life.
This assertion has been all but universally condemned even by those who would agree with the outcome.
That said, it has reignited the conversation of ending birthright citizenship through the actual constitutional channels it would take to make it happen. If Congress were to make it happen, it would be a devastating blow to immigrants (it is currently unclear if he was speaking of all immigrants or just undocumented ones) and could change our nation at a fundamental level.