August 17, 2016

Hillary Clinton proposes reforms to US immigration policy

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic party candidate in this year’s US presidential election, has promised significant immigration reform allowing for a pathway to legal status for some undocumented immigrants.

Speaking at a press conference for Latino and African American journalists in Washington, Clinton said she will introduce a comprehensive immigration bill during her first 100 days in office, restore and expand President Obama’s programs, close private detention centers, and “take a very hard look at the deportation policies” now in force.

In 2014, Obama announced reform that would allow more than four million undocumented immigrants to come out of the shadows and apply for the right to remain in the US. The Supreme Court is divided on the issue, which means that the programs are unlikely to come into effect for the remainder of the Obama presidency.

Announcing her plan for the economy, Clinton acknowledged the work and payment of taxes of undocumented immigrants and said the goal was to end their exploitation, which suppresses wages throughout the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

American businesses have called for immigration reform, including technology companies seeking to increase the number of visas for highly skilled workers, and the agriculture sector which, according to the American Farm Bureau, lost £300 million due to labor shortages in 2010.

Clinton’s rival, the Republican party candidate Donald Trump, has called for mass deportations of the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the US.

Cynthia Bansak has written for the IZA World of Labor on legalizing undocumented immigrants. She writes that “Legalization allows undocumented immigrants greater mobility, access to health and social services, and equal protection under the law. It can increase tax revenues, as more immigrants pay taxes or pay more taxes when incomes rise.”  

Related articles:
Naturalization and citizenship: Who benefits? by Christina Gathmann
Enforcement and illegal migration by Pia Orrenius