NewsLocal News


Guide: Presidential candidates' stances on immigration, border security

Immigration Asylum
Posted at 5:00 AM, Sep 21, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — As presidential campaigns ramp up, immigration is expected to be a key topic during the 2024 election season. Below is a quick overview of each candidate's positions and plans for immigration and border security.

President Joe Biden (D)
As President, Biden promised to reverse many of the executive orders former President Trump enacted on immigration, but a record number of migrants crossing the southern border derailed some of those plans.

Biden ended the Trump-era policy of family separation, as well as Title 42, a pandemic-era policy that allowed border agents to turn away migrants because of the public health emergency.

But he also implemented a new enforcement plan that made it easier to deport asylum seekers who enter the U.S. illegally or fail to seek asylum in another country they pass through on their way to the U.S.

That policy initially led to a drop in border arrests this June, but the number increased again in July. That policy is currently on pause as it faces legal challenges.


Former President Donald Trump (R)
As president, Trump implemented a policy of separating migrant families at the southern border and partially built a border wall.

If re-elected, he has said he wants to reinstate policies from his first term and implement new policies, including sending the Coast Guard and Navy to stop drug smuggling boats from Latin America, ending birthright citizenship, and increasing ideological screening of immigration and visa applicants.


Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R)
In May, DeSantis signed a sweeping immigration law in Florida that provided funding for his migrant relocation program, which required more businesses to use the federal E-Verify program to determine if employees can legally work in the U.S., prohibited local governments from providing money to organizations that issue I.D. cards to immigrants without legal permanent status and invalidated out-of-state driver's licenses held by undocumented immigrants.

If elected, DeSantis said he would seek to end birthright citizenship and authorize law enforcement to use deadly force against migrants believed to be involved in illegal drug trafficking.


South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott (R)
As a senator, Scott has introduced legislation to withhold funding from sanctuary cities and re-direct IRS funding to border security instead.

He has supported the idea of building a border wall to address illegal migration and drug smuggling.


Entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy (R)
Ramaswamy, the son of Indian immigrants, has proposed some of the strictest immigration policies of any GOP candidate.

He said he would deport American-born children of undocumented immigrants, despite birthright citizenship being guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

Additionally, he said he wants to implement an entirely meritocratic system of immigration, eliminating any lottery-based paths to citizenship.


Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley (R)
Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has vowed to defund sanctuary cities, add 25,000 new border agents and reimplement the Trump-era "Remain in Mexico" policy.


Former Vice President Mike Pence (R)
Pence has called for a return to Trump-era immigration policies, including finishing the border wall and reinstating the Remain in Mexico policy.

However, Pence said he would not revive the Trump administration's family separation policy.


Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R)
Christie has proposed sending the National Guard to the U.S.-Mexico border to stop illegal crossings and intercept fentanyl.

During his 2016 presidential campaign, he said he did not support a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.


Former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson (R)
Hutchinson has advocated for a state-based visa system, allowing each state to design its own immigration policies.

He has also called for adding more border patrol agents and charging fentanyl dealers with murder if their supply leads to a death.


North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum (R)
Burgum has said he would support changes to the U.S. immigration system that would allow more "skilled" immigrants to enter the country legally.


Former U.S. Rep. Will Hurd (R)
Hurd has criticized both President Biden's and former President Trump's immigration policies.

He argues that people are abusing the asylum process and that the U.S. should use existing foreign aid programs to help people stay in their countries of origin.