Immigration ideologies: The evolution of ideas on immigration and their impact on policies

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Office of Representative Phil Gingrey, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As immigration ideas evolve., many migrants are still facing struggles at the border and policies are yet to be introduced on capitol hill.

Kendall Jarvis, News Editor

Immigration has been a major discussion for the past few decades and the constant conversation of ideologies has allowed the issue to evolve. As seen with the current president, Joe Biden, immigration policy is drastically changing before U.S. citizens’ eyes. 

Specifically, in the democratic party, the aim of immigration policy has even changed since Former President Obama’s last term. New York Times journalist David Leonhardt commented about this change in his immigration article. Many critics called Former President Obama “deporter in chief” because of the mass deportations of illegal immigrants he led.

President Biden is following a different plan with his executive order to halt deportations for the first 100 days of his presidency. Although this action was blocked by a judge, Biden has allowed many migrants, many of them children, to enter the United States specifically through the southern border. 

These actions have proved the ideologies of the democratic party are shifting. Their policies are no longer to only ease immigration laws but also to allow illegal immigrants to freely enter the U.S. Even though these shifts in ideas are being made, the policies aren’t completely following these plans. There are many challenges at the border, and migrant camps are still overflowing with illegal immigrants. 

Before Obama’s term, Democrats had even stricter views on immigration. Former President Bill Clinton’s re-election campaign was based on the ideology of intolerance to illegal immigration; this policy was one of the major issues he got re-elected for.  

Although Clinton was elected for the anti-illegal immigration, some of his predecessors, like Jimmy Carter, promoted the entrance of refugees with the Refugee Act that increased refugee numbers by 32,600 each year. This law was unanimously passed by the Senate, highlighting the progressive views of Democrats.

Although these policies are being promoted by the Democratic Party, Biden and his administration are unsure of the execution of their plans. Despite his own plans, Biden also needs to compromise with Congress to pass bills. 

Senior and US immigrant Aditi Nachnani stated her opinion on Biden’s push to ease immigration policies. “[If new policies are passed], I am hopeful that we will see progress in our visa application” she shared. Like Nachnani, many other PV students are hopeful about their visas being approved.

Support among minority voters is also shifting because of the new immigration ideologies. Many minority voters have supported the Republican party because they are in support of stricter immigration laws, unlike many of the progressive Democrats, but this was not an issue in President Biden’s election. 

Many of the critics to ease immigration laws are concerned about the effect it would have on the economy especially with lower-paying jobs.

Senior Reese Wendell explained what she believes will happen to American jobs if immigration laws are eased. “If there are more employees, then companies might have to lower the wages to be able to pay everyone. Or we will have employees quit over their own political views. [Others may quit] because they won’t be able to live off the lower wages,” she stated.

These concerns have been pointed out by many economists and American citizens alike, but as the Biden administration has continued to cover issues surrounding immigration policy, these concerns have not been addressed.

As the evolution of immigration ideologies has been observed, many are left wondering where will these ideas lead the United States’ legislature next and how will that impact the country as a whole.