Election 2020: Immigration must become a priority for candidates


Illustration by Amber Chin

Marina Cruz, Staff Writer

In the midst of the 2020 presidential election, an issue that hasn’t been fully discussed by the two candidates is immigration reform, and particularly the role of Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).  As we saw in the recent presidential and vice presidential debates, both parties never touched on the topic of immigration.

Each candidate has their own tactics and policies when dealing with immigration. According to Joe Biden’s campaign, he plans to modernize the American immigration system, welcome immigrants into our communities, and implement effective border screening. According to Donald Trump’s campaign, he is hoping to construct a border wall and (in his own words) protect American workers by ending chain migration and moving the country to a merit-based entry system.

Both candidates have very different policies but one thing they did not mention regularly was ICE. The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2020 that Biden would have policies regarding ICE that reflect former President Obama’s policies. Trump has praised ICE on numerous occasions for their tactics on handling people who seek asylum and immigrate to the United States illegally.

What does this mean for voters? Voters should care about immigration reform and ICE when deciding who to vote for, especially since the way ICE operates has come to light. ICE saw an increase in arrests of 42% in 2016 to 2017. The Department of Health Services has reported that five hysterectomies have been performed in an ICE detention center in Georgia. There have been multiple incidents of ICE agents being too rough and the conditions of the facilities are cruel, unsanitary, and violate immigrants’ basic human rights. Private prison companies such as GEO Group and CCA have profited off of ICE detention centers and have transformed them into prisons that keep their pockets full.

Paying attention to these issues is vital and recognizing what the candidates want and keep brushing off will only make the issues associated with immigration exponentially worse. Ignoring immigration in a time of desperate need only hurts the people who need it most. DACA recipients, people who seek asylum, and various other immigrants in this country rely on these candidates to make good decisions that affect their livelihood.

As the election nears and the debates become more heated, reflect on those who make our country great. Who grow our produce, who help balance our economy, and who contribute to our society as functioning humans. Acknowledge the terror and pain ICE has caused and how immigration issues need to be discussed more frequently. Think of the dreamers, and of our neighbors who want to live the American dream they desperately seek.