Immigration Reform Means Different Things to Clinton, Trump

U.S. presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have both said they will make changes to the country’s immigration system, but what they actually intend to do is not certain.

Trump has pledged strict immigration enforcement, mass deportations, mandatory E-Verify for employers, an overhaul of guest worker programs and a repeal of some of President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which allow for deferred deportation and work authorization for certain unauthorized immigrants.

Clinton has promised to renew movement on a comprehensive immigration reform package in her first 100 days in office, which may include increasing quotas for guest worker visas and available green cards for foreign workers and legalizing the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country.

“Both nominees have proposed immigration reform principles including changes to the employment verification process and the availability of employment-based visas, which will have implications for the workplace,” said Chatrane Birbal, a government relations senior advisor at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). “U.S. immigration policy changes will no doubt influence employment policy, sparking new workplace trends. HR professionals need to be proactive and aware of these changes to keep their organizations in compliance with employment and immigration laws, whether within the U.S. or globally.”

Immigration reform has become a slogan, experts agreed. “It means one thing to people that support a major overhaul to the immigration system, and it means something else to those who support mainly an enforcement-focused set of changes,” said Audrey Singer, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, a think tank and research center based in Washington, D.C. “Both candidates have signaled their point of view, rather than really giving us discrete plans. The implicit is more telling than the explicit with both of these candidates.”

By Roy Maurer for SHRM.ORG
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