Trump or Biden? Who will be better for Immigrants & Immigration?

The election next week is shaping up to be one of the most contentious in history. There is a lot of uncertainty, not only of outcomes, but also as to whether either side will respect or believe the other is ultimately the winner.

Many people fervently feel that it is essential that one side or the other win, or else, “catastrophe.”

When it comes to immigration law, my 25 years’ experience tells me this has never been the case.

One thing that I’ve always noticed about many lawyers, as well as the media (both electronic and social), is a constant focus on the negative.

Nineteen years ago the message was how “uncertain” times were — after 9.11 — for immigrants.

We were also told immigration was “destroyed” by Bill Clinton’s presidency when in 1996 he signed the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act.

Guess what? In both circumstances, positive outcomes for millions of immigrants carried on, new challenges notwithstanding.

I have to mention these facts every single time I write a blog post like this one.

Barack Obama and his vice president Joe Biden were human rights violators who oversaw the detention of children in deplorable conditions in detention centers all over the United States.

Even as I write this, be aware that Obama deported more immigrants than Trump.

While fear may be a valid concern in the context of the current presidential administration (as well as the last three, egged on more and more by social media), one fact always remains:

Good triumphs over evil. Immigration lawyers need to maintain perspective while we fight for our clients.

AND To be clear, I have written for national publications on more than one occasion in criticism of Trump on immigration.

Trump v. Biden on Immigration policies: what’s the difference?

When comparing Trump v. Biden, you have to keep in mind we are comparing what Trump has done vs what Biden is promising.

Promises aren’t action, and we don’t ultimately know what kind of leader Biden could be (though his history tells us quite a bit), but we do have an idea of what Trump is like. So let’s start there.

Examples of what Trump has done on Immigration during his time in office:

Add to this: Trump promises even more restrictions if he wins, proposing immigration on a “merit” system that could theoretically put an end to many family-based immigration categories, as well as DACA, and the visa lottery system, and replacing them with a new process based on age, education, and wealth.

What Biden has promised he will do for Immigration if he wins:

Biden has essentially taken the opposite stance from Trump. The former VP claims he will reverse many measures taken under the Trump administration, within the first 100 days of his presidency. Now there is no guarantee that he will be able to do this, and it will have to go through the normal channels to be enacted.

  • Stop family separation for detainees.
  • Restore U.S. asylum policies to a more humane level.
  • Put an end to Trump’s changes to new public charge rules.
  • Reinstate DACA.
  • End workplace raids.
  • Immediately review TPS.

REMINDER — Biden’s former boss, Obama, said on May 28, 2008:

I cannot guarantee that it is going to be in the first 100 days. But what I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I’m promoting. And I want to move that forward as quickly as possible.



No matter who wins, you don’t need to be afraid: it’s never the end of immigration.

I have been hearing that the sky is falling on immigration for a quarter century.

However, we continue to achieve positive results for our clients, under four presidential administrations.

One POTUS candidate continues to promote restrictions on immigration, and the other promises to open it up.

No matter what you hear on the news and social media, immigration to the US will still happen: it’s not going to be the end.

Immigration lawyers will dig in their heels and keep fighting, just as they have done for nearly a century.

Written by: Harlan York

Immigration Attorney Harlan York is Former Chair, Immigration Section, NJ State Bar Association and Former Co-Chair, NY State Bar Association CFLS Immigration Committee. Mr. York appeared on National Television on CBS This Morning with Charlie Rose and Primer Impacto on Univision, as well as Telemundo, NBC, and PBS. He was honored as First Ever Immigration Lawyer of The Year in NJ by Best Lawyers.

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