Factbox: Trump and Biden take sharply different paths on immigration

(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s push to crack down on illegal immigration and reshape legal immigration was at the heart of the Republican’s winning 2016 campaign and has remained at the forefront of his White House agenda.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic nominee, promises to rescind many of those policies and advance his own agenda if he wins the Nov. 3 election.

Here is a look at some of their immigration stances.


Trump has dramatically curtailed immigration and travel into the United States during the coronavirus pandemic, arguing the steps were needed for health reasons and to protect jobs for U.S. workers.

Earlier this month, his administration announced new rules that could have forced tens of thousands of international students to leave the country if their schools held all classes online amid the pandemic.

In response to the policy, Biden tweeted support for international students.

“They study here, innovate here, they make America who we are,” he said. “Donald Trump doesn’t get that.”

Faced with broad opposition from colleges, business associations, tech companies and labor unions, the Trump administration abandoned the plan earlier this week but may revisit the issue.

During the pandemic, Trump has restricted the entry of many foreign workers and immigrants seeking “green cards” for permanent residency, saying the moves would help U.S. workers amid the coronavirus-battered economy.

Biden tweeted at the time that Trump was banning immigrants to distract from his administration’s pandemic response and that “immigrants help grow our economy and create jobs.”

Trump also implemented a health-focused policy that allows U.S. officials to rapidly deport migrants caught at the U.S.-Mexico border, bypassing standard legal processes.

Biden has said he will pause deportations for 100 days after taking office, but his campaign did not immediately comment on the coronavirus-related border rules.

By John Whitesides, Ted Hesson for REUTERS
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