With Trump’s Deportation Plan, Is Immigration Reform Dead?

President-elect Donald Trump has promised during his campaign to build a “big beautiful wall” along the U.S. border with Mexico and deport millions of the nation’s immigrants. Now that he is about to take his seat in the White House, what will happen to undocumented people residing illegally in the U.S.?

Trump’s proposal includes tripling Immigration and Customs Enforcement personnel, removing the estimated 690,000 undocumented residents who have committed crimes, and expelling immigrants overstaying their visas.

According to an analysis by the Washington Post, the total number of deportations is somewhere between 5 million and 6.5 million of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States. The cost of these policies, along with the construction of the proposed border wall, will be between $51.2 billion and $66.9 billion.

The insane numbers that are attached to Trump’s immigration proposal has been criticized by many economists and political analysts. However, Trump still has not changed his mind.

His proposed immigration-related tasks also include plans to “immediately terminate President Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties” and to ensure that “anyone who enters the U.S. illegally is subject to deportation,” according to his campaign website.

By stating “Obama’s two illegal executive amnesties,” Trump is likely referring to the outgoing president’s 2012 and 2014 executive actions on immigration, which granted temporary deportation stays to some immigrants. Republican governors argued the proposals were not approved by Congress and were therefore not legal.

Executive actions, unlike executive orders, are varied and more directed toward enforcement rather than legislation, but both can be discarded by an incoming president, according to Georgetown University Government Affairs Institute (GAI) Senior Fellow Susan Sullivan.

“When there’s a change in party control at the White House, it’s become de rigeur for the incoming president to dispense with a few Executive Orders issued by his predecessor at the first possible opportunity,” Sullivan wrote in a GAI post comparing executive orders and actions.

This means that President Obama’s efforts to create immigration reforms may soon be put to waste by Trump’s administration. Two of his immigration policies have already been blocked by the Supreme Court: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA).

In a 4-4 split ruling, the Supreme Court upheld earlier this year the decision to strike down the DACA expansion and DAPA. Due to this blockage, more than 5 million people who would have been eligible for protection are now left vulnerable to deportation.

DACA, a 2012 action delaying deportation for people brought to the U.S. before June 2007 and prior to their 16th birthdays, still stands. Its expansion, initiated in 2014, have allowed people brought to the U.S. when they were younger than 16 and have only been residing in the country since the start of 2010 to stay and work for another three years in the country. Meanwhile, DAPA, also enacted in 2014, would have delayed deportation for undocumented parents of American citizens.

So, in terms of slashing Obama Administration’s immigration reform, only the original version of DACA is left, for which 1.2 million people qualify.

Nghi Tran – CFO of Greenhandshake

Learn more about Greenhandshake