Immigration
July 28, 2016
Will Congress act in 2017?

The debate over U.S. immigration — both documented and undocumented — is heating up because of the presidential campaign and continued partisan deadlock in Congress on the issue. Both major party candidates and many congressional leaders promise a fresh start on immigration legislation in 2017, particularly in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June ruling that blocked President Obama’s 2014 executive action that would have shielded millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation. The two political parties, however, still differ over how to handle immigrants in the country illegally, reform the worker visa program and address the needs of refugees. They also disagree on background checks to identify potential terrorists. Many states continue to pass their own laws in the absence of federal action.

A girl from El Salvador walks with her father in south Texas in April after crossing the border from Mexico to seek asylum. While the number of undocumented immigrants is down from its 2007 peak, the number of asylum seekers from Central America remains high. (Getty Images/John Moore)   A girl from El Salvador walks with her father in south Texas in April after crossing the border from Mexico to seek asylum. While the number of undocumented immigrants is down from its 2007 peak, the number of asylum seekers from Central America remains high. (Getty Images/John Moore)

Concerns about undocumented immigrants and border security continue to pit the two major parties against each other, now most prominently on the presidential campaign trail where harsh rhetoric has further divided the Republican Party itself.

Presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall on the border with Mexico, deport the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States and bar Muslim immigrants from entering the country. After the son of Afghan immigrants killed 49 people at an Orlando, Fla., nightclub on June 12, Trump expanded his proposal to include banning migrants from any part of the world with “a proven history of terrorism” against the United States or its allies — a statement that upset many Republican Party leaders. Footnote 1

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