Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

With only three days left until the historic election, America has never felt more divided on a matter of both ideals for the country and ideas about the country. Emily Wade revisits the candidates’ positions on immigration, paying special attention to the global impact inherently involved. 

The hot-button topic of immigration surfaced in the last debate, dredging up the heart-wrenching question of what can and should be done at the border. 

Welker introduced the topic by stating, “Mr. President, your administration separated children from their parents at the border, at least 4,000 kids. You’ve since reversed your zero-tolerance policy, but the US can’t locate the parents of more than 500 children.”  Her question to Trump was, “How will these families ever be reunited?”

Trump addressed, first, the content of the question with which he disagreed. He emphasized that not all instances of immigration look alike and that not all children are brought over by their own parents. He pointed out the role of “coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels… They’re brought here and it’s easy to use them to get into the country.” 

While it may seem far-fetched, there is some evidence supporting that Trump is well-versed in the nefarious means through and purposes for which children are brought illegally across the border. It received little-to-no attention in the press, with only three companies represented at the briefing, however, Trump has recently instated the first White House position solely focused on combating human trafficking and online child exploitation. 

Nobody likes the devil’s advocate. However, all but ~12% of those children were reunited with their parents. What dedicated and driven work has gone into reuniting the vast majority of these families has been undercut by claims about the “racist” Trump administration. He pointed out earlier that not all children are brought across the border in the glorious image of ‘hard-working parent seeking a better life for the child.’ Unfortunately, we do live in a world where the human trafficking industry is alive and well. Undocumented persons make easy victims; at least, Trump is willing to acknowledge this ugly truth. The remaining children, Trump claimed, will be supported by the hard work of his administration until they are reunited or otherwise cared for. Improving conditions in these facilities, also, is one of Trump’s accomplishments within the realm of immigration. 

Biden ignored Trump’s answer and stated, “These 500 plus kids came with parents. They separated them at the border to make it a disincentive to come to begin with. Big real tough, really strong. And guess what? They cannot — it’s not coyotes that bring them over, their parents were with them… It makes us a laughingstock and violates every judge of who we are as a nation.”

Trump begins to challenge him, calling for the attention of the moderator.

Trump: “Kristen — They did it. We changed the policy. They did it. 

“We changed it. They set up the cages. They —

“Who built the cages?”

Biden: “So, let’s talk about—”

Trump: “Who built the cages, Joe?”

Biden: “Let’s talk about what we’re talking about.”

Welker addressed Biden: “The Obama administration did fail to deliver immigration reform, which had been a key promise during the administration. It also presided over record deportations as well as family detentions at the border before changing course.” She asked, “Why should voters trust you with an immigration overhaul now?”

Biden admitted, “We made a mistake. It took too long to get right… I’ve made it very clear, within 100 days, I’m going to send to the United States Congress a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people.”

Trump zeroed in on Biden’s 8 years in office when no such thing occurred. Pointing to his own success, he mentioned getting rid of the “catch and release” policy. Biden attempted to paint this maneuver as evil and threatening to average American families, but Trump quickly interjected: “It’s so important. It shows he has no understanding of immigration — of the laws. Catch and release is a disaster.”

It’s a process by which undocumented citizens if arrested, are released back into the community and told to return at a later date for sentencing. Trump claimed that “less than 1% come back… Only the really — I hate to say this — but those with the lowest IQ, they might come back.” Under the current system, when people don’t show, “We have to send ICE and Border Patrol out to find them.” It makes logical sense… If your very presence in a country is illegal, you would be hesitant to show up to a court of law.

Biden responded, “I know the law. What he’s telling you is simply not true.”

An unsettling issue by default, the two candidates made clear their positions on illegal immigration. Biden would like to relax immigration laws, as well as to award citizenships to some 11 million undocumented people. He believes that all illegal immigration is done in good faith and subsequently that putting one’s foot down at the border is immoral. Trump, on the other hand, holds a more intimate view. While it may be true that the vast majority of illegal immigrants to America come honestly, seeking work and a better life for their families, it is not true that this is the case all of the time. 

Downstream, Trump is making waves. As his administration continues to broker peace deals across the Middle East, allowing a break from terror and the chance to build a future at home, the number of refugees seeking shelter will drastically decrease. As many of the heartstring-pulling arguments are central to this refugee question, Trump’s ability to economically normalize regions that have sparred for decades is outstanding. Instead of asking, ‘What should we do with these people?’ he asked, ‘How can we make their lives better where they are?’ 

The harsh truth about any economic system, such as a country, is that there are parameters within which the system works best. America, the shining beacon to the rest of the world, may not remain so. A saturated population inevitably excludes many from the workforce, or, at least, reduces the value of work provided. By helping other nations to stand on their own and support their own populations, Trump’s actions will decrease the volume of refugees seeking shelter. For the first time, also, we will see international and domestic individuals with American degrees flocking overseas to chip in on the restoration of these nations’ international economies. 

No one likes the thought of refugees being turned away. No one likes the thought of honest “dreamers” being deported. No one likes the thought of children in cages.  We must remember, as Trump reminded us, “Who built the cages, Joe?”