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Trump's immigration promises: what he managed to fulfill in 4 years of presidency

In the months leading up to the 2016 elections, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke out against illegal immigration at campaign rallies across the country. He promised to build a giant wall along the entire 2000-mile (3 km) southern border, for which Mexico, not the United States, would pay. His speeches described illegal and legal immigration as a threat to Americans and the nation, highlighted violent crimes committed by immigrants, and largely ignored the contribution that immigrants make to the development of the United States. What Trump did when he became president of the United States, and what he left just in words, the newspaper found out Azcentral.

Photo: Shutterstock

Border wall

President Trump has partly fulfilled a promise to build a wall along the entire 2000-mile U.S.-Mexico border to stop the smuggling of drugs and people and make Mexico pay for it.

Following his 2016 election victory, Trump ditched a promise to build a solid concrete wall spanning the entire border in favor of 30-foot steel slats known as bollards on strategic stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border.

Four years later, during the 2020 election campaign, Trump repeatedly pointed to hundreds of miles of new border barriers as proof that he had delivered on his promise.

The multi-billion dollar bill is paid by US taxpayers, not Mexico. The Trump administration has said 2020 miles of the wall (nearly 400 km) will be built by the end of 645. Most of the new higher barriers replace the old low barriers or car barriers that made it easier to enter the country.

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According to WikipediaIn four years, 727 km of enclosing structures were completed: 76 km of new construction + 53 km of reinforcement of existing ones + 598 km of replacement of old ones with new ones. On the first day of his presidency Joe Biden suspended construction of the wall.

The Trump administration received or redirected nearly $ 18 billion to build the border wall from government coffers.

The end of catch and release

Trump has achieved mixed results in delivering on his promise to end the practice of "catch and release" - the capture of illegal immigrants who enter the country, and then release them with notice to appear in immigration court.

During Trump's 2016 campaign, he pledged to end the practice of “catch and release,” a term his administration uses to describe the process by which immigrant asylum seekers detained at the border are released from government custody in the custody of relatives. ...

Shortly after Trump's inauguration, a large wave of immigrant families heading to the United States, mostly from Central American countries such as Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, began arriving at the US border, overturning the administration's plans to immediately end catch-and-release principles.

Families often fled due to poverty, violence and persecution in their countries - they sought refuge in the United States. Large groups of immigrants, sometimes numbering as many as 400, crossed the border illegally, looked for American border guards and voluntarily surrendered. By the end of fiscal 2019, agents had processed more than 474 immigrant applications.

Their arrival in such large numbers overwhelmed the border and immigration services. This has resulted in severe overcrowding, prolonged detention and deterioration of conditions at border checkpoints.

To cope with the dramatic increase in arrivals, the Customs and Border Protection Service began releasing thousands of families detained at the border. Departments initially transferred immigrants to immigrant shelters and nonprofit organizations in border communities. But since the beginning of 2019, as the number of immigrants continued to rise, border guards began to release them at bus stops and other points in border towns, sometimes without adequate infrastructure to accommodate them.

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In cities like Yuma, Arizona, local governments and nonprofits have struggled to find solutions, including opening emergency shelters or arranging transportation to larger cities inland. All families received notice to appear in court, usually a few weeks later.

Throughout the upsurge, the Trump administration has criticized existing US laws and court orders, such as the Flores Settlement Agreement, which provides for the care of special populations such as accompanied and unaccompanied immigrant children, and limits the length of detention for immigrant children.

Trump and numerous senior administration officials have commonly described these policies as “loopholes” that acted as pulls to attract even more immigrant families to the United States.

By September 2019, the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that it would end the practice of releasing Central American families into the care of relatives in the interior of the United States, with some exceptions for humanitarian or medical reasons.

By that time, the Trump administration, in collaboration with the Mexican government, had launched a program to send asylum seekers to Mexico's border cities while their cases were pending. DHS has distributed a program called the Immigrant Protection Protocols and informally known as "Stay in Mexico", to the entire US-Mexico border by early 2020. Since then, the States have returned more than 68 immigrants to Mexico.

In March, when the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Trump administration suspended nearly all asylum processing.

DHS began immediately deporting immigrants detained at the US-Mexican border under an emergency order from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Since March 21, when the decree went into effect, border guards and officers have returned more than 204 migrants to their home countries or to their last transit country.

DACA program

Trump has pledged to end the DACA created by President Barack Obama, and he succeeded, but temporarily. The program grants work permits to young illegal immigrants who grew up in the United States who have not had the opportunity to legalize their immigration status and are therefore at risk of deportation.

In September 2017, the Trump administration announced it was scrapping the program. At the same time, he expressed sympathy for the "dreamers" and called on Congress to pass legislation that will provide a way to legalize their status. That did not happen.

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An unexpected victory for the "dreamers" was the following: in June Supreme Court ruled Trump administration illegally shut down DACA program... The Supreme Court ruling allowed the program to continue, but gave the Trump administration an opportunity to try again to complete it properly.

Divest funding from states that practice asylum policies

Trump tried, but failed, to deliver on his pledge to withhold millions of dollars in federal aid to local jurisdictions across the country that restrict cooperation with federal immigration authorities through so-called asylum policies.

Trump argues that asylum policies adopted in Democratic-controlled cities such as Chicago and New York, as well as the state of California, have led to violent crimes against Americans by immigrants who were to be deported.

Jurisdictions that have adopted asylum policies argue that immigration provision is a federal matter, and working hand in hand with federal immigration authorities undermines trust between local police and communities with large immigrant populations. In June, the Supreme Court upheld California's asylum policy, which the Trump administration claimed in a lawsuit as unconstitutional.

Deportation of illegal immigrants

Trump has partly fulfilled his promise to begin deporting on the "first day" of more than 2 million immigrants who, he said, lived in the country without permission and committed crimes.

Under the Trump administration, the number of immigrants expelled by ICE who have been convicted of crimes or charged with crimes has increased every year. ICE's number of convicted criminals and immigrants pending criminal charges averaged 486 in three fiscal years, up from an average of 930 previously. Thus, ICE deported 162 convicted criminals and immigrants who were indicted within four years.

Fiscal 2020 figures have yet to be released, but the total is far less than the 2 million criminals Trump has promised to deport from the United States.

On January 25, 2017, five days after his inauguration, Trump signed a decree aimed at tightening controls on internal immigration. The decree replaced the Obama-era policy that prioritized the deportation of immigrants who pose a threat to public or national security with a new policy based on prioritizing the deportation of all illegal immigrants, regardless of their criminal history or ties to the United States.

But total deportations under the Trump administration remain below the record set by his predecessor, Obama.

No entry

Trump has made good on his pledge to stop issuing visas to people coming from countries he says are not being properly screened. Critics said the travel ban was intended to block people from predominantly Muslim countries. Two versions of Trump's travel ban were initially blocked by the courts, but the Supreme Court upheld the third. The ban blocks travel for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria, Yemen and North Korea, as well as politicians from Venezuela.

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In February, the Trump administration expanded the travel ban to include six more countries. Critics have expressed concern that the extended ban is intended to keep black immigrants from Africa out of the country. The extended travel ban prevents residents of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar and Nigeria from obtaining immigrant visas. It also prevents people from Sudan and Tanzania from obtaining immigrant visas as part of a visa program designed for countries that do not send many immigrants to the United States.

Legal immigration reforms

Trump has defaulted on his promise to reform the country's legal immigration system.

In May 2019, Trump promulgated a law that would significantly alter the current legal immigration system and turn it into a merit-based system that will mainly issue green cards to immigrants based on their education and skills.

The current system, which Trump called "chain migration," basically provides green card visas to close relatives of immigrants who are legal permanent residents or US citizens.

But Trump's proposed law never received support in Congress, where many Democrats opposed it as being overly restrictive and some Republicans as not being strict enough.

Trump used his executive powers to find other ways to restrict legal immigration without the help of Congress. His administration has introduced a new "public burden" rule that makes it difficult for immigrants who have enjoyed federal benefits in the past to obtain green cards. Critics say the “social burden” rule is a “welfare test” that discriminates against low-income immigrants.

The Trump administration has stepped up screening of people applying for H-1B visas, which companies use to bring highly skilled workers from other countries into the U.S., mainly from India and China.

Critics argue that the increased screening has led to a sharp increase in the number of H-1B visa denials.

On October 7, Trump signed an executive order to amend the H-1B program rules. They will further restrict the issuance of H-1B visas. The changes require companies to commit to pay salaries to H-1-B workers to deny employers incentives to replace American workers with less paid foreign workers. Trump said the policy change is aimed at protecting American workers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accepting fewer refugees

Trump has made good on his promise to take fewer refugees to the United States. Under the Trump administration, the number of refugees admitted to the United States each year fell to an all-time low. In fiscal 2020, which ended September 30, the US hosted a total of 11 refugees, even below the Trump administration's 814 cap and the lowest number since the start of the modern US refugee program in 18. By comparison, in fiscal 000, Obama's last year at the White House, the United States accepted 1980 refugees.

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