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Trump's Immigration Policies: A Debate

Overview of Trump Administration's Major Immigration Efforts (2017 - 2021)

By Sophia Zheng

Source: Ballotpedia

Trump’s presidency is markedly known for its stark and distinct immigration policies, most notably the Mexican wall. We will break down Trump’s US-Mexico border wall and Trump’s immigration bans against foreign workers.


Although many see the border control issue as specific to Trump’s presidency, border issues have been relevant since 1924 with the creation of U.S. Border Patrol. Security ramped up even more with the September 11th attack. Trump’s border initiative is an extension of a history of immigration restriction.


With the border current costing $11 billion according to NPR, we ought to consider the pros and cons of the border. Mexico, unsurprisingly, refuses to pay for the wall, so the Trump administration tried hard to get Congress and the Democrat-controlled House to comply with funding. This stalemate only led to a government shutdown, in which Trump declared a national emergency to get access to funds for the border.


The pros of the border are increased national security, decreasing the costs of illegal immigration, fewer people attempting to cross, and less strain on government resources. However, the cons of the border are the international ruin of the U.S.’ global image, the ineffectiveness of border wall compared to the price tag, resorting to barriers rather than comprehensive immigration reform, and finally, human lives dying at the border. Environmentalists also strongly oppose the border because it hurts wildlife, migration patterns, and vegetation.

On June 22, 2020, President Donald Trump issued an executive order (EO) barring temporary foreign workers and suspended new work visas. According to Prithwiraj Choudhury, Trump’s executive order prevented nearly 200,000 foreign workers and their dependents from entering the United States. Major American companies could no longer hire skilled immigrants, resulting in a loss of $100 billion dollars in company valuation. This demonstrates that American companies significantly depend on immigrants.


According to Kerr, Trump’s anti-immigration policies are foreboding a loss of American competitiveness. Business leaders and scholars alike are working with public policy experts to push against immigration policies. A stark example of why immigrants matter is Moderna, the company leading the international race for a vaccine solution founded by an immigrant. In a twist, Kerr argues that America should cherish and attract immigrant talent as a local hub.


The United States is exactly what it means: a country ‘uniting’ people where immigration has become crucial to the American identity.

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