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What are the border policy differences between Biden and Trump?

A Gallup poll shows that 28% of Americans agree that immigration is the "most important problem facing this country."
What are the border policy differences between Biden and Trump?
Posted at 1:03 PM, Mar 11, 2024

The number of migrants attempting to enter the U.S. is expected to continue to increase this month. U.S. Customs and Border Protection reported that agents encountered nearly 2.5 million migrants in fiscal year 2023 — a record. 

Solving the border crisis has become increasingly political. 

Unlike past border issues, this election year is not about redefining physical boundaries, it's about who is allowed in, who is kept out and what to do with the people who are already here. 

Gallup poll shows that 28% of Americans agree that immigration is the "most important problem facing this country."

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, the likely Republican nominee, have very different ideas and records concerning immigration and the border. 

What to do with people seeking asylum

Federal law permits asylum to people facing persecution. What happens before or after that is where policy comes in.

Former President Trump enacted a "Remain in Mexico" policy while in office. It instructed thousands of asylum-seeking migrants at the southern border to wait in Mexico while they await immigration hearings.

President Joe Biden canceled "Remain in Mexico" and has called it "inhumane."

Human Rights First reports that when the policy was in place, there were "at least 1,544 publicly reported cases of kidnappings, murder, torture, rape and other violent attacks against people returned to Mexico."

In an effort to prevent people from seeking asylum at the border, President Biden has encouraged the use of a mobile app to to make the process more orderly. He instructed Vice President Kamala Harris to work with private companies to improve economic conditions in Central America so people didn't feel like they needed to leave. 

In contrast, Trump, when he was in office, issued travel bans and raised the threshold for what conditions would qualify for asylum.

He also enacted a zero-tolerance policy for those who attempted to enter the U.S. illegally.

An inspector general report from 2021 found the zero-tolerance policy resulted in "over 3,000 children had been separated from their parents."

Improving physical security along the border

President Biden and Trump also have very different views on border security. 

Trump built over 450 miles of a border wall when he was in office. He's said he will resume the border wall if he is elected president. 

President Biden has been largely critical of the border wall, instead pushing for billions of dollars for other types of security measures, including more agents and security technology between ports of entry. 

The two likely 2024 presidential candidates also disagree on the deportation process. Trump wants the largest deportation task force ever assembled. 

The Biden administration deported 142,000 last year and has spoken about the need to find a pathway for citizenship for those in legal limbo. 


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