GOP presidential candidates take their stands on immigration (includes video story)

Donald Trump is clearly the leading candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is in a distant second place, according to polls and surveys.

Both candidates have taken strong stands against many immigration policies supported by liberals and moderates like. This has worried many in Miami and across the nation.

Back in August, Trump issued a plan to radically restrict immigration by, among other things: 1) Ramp up ideological screening, 2) sending the Coast Guard and the Navy to form a blockade in the waters off the U.S. and Latin America to stop drug smuggling 3) expand a Muslim ban to restrict immigration from some countries 4) end birthright citizenship for children of undocumented immigrants. And 5) complete his border wall and add more floating barriers on the Rio Grande – like the ones placed by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. . 

DeSantis has many similar approaches to national immigration policy, some of which the Florida governor has already implemented in the state. One of these, Senate Bill 1718, makes it possible for law enforcement to arrest, detain, and deport migrants who enter the state. DeSantis also wants to end birthright citizenship, deploy the U.S. military to the Southern border, detain unauthorized migrants until their court hearings, and implement a “remain in Mexico” policy that enforces asylum seekers to wait souith of the border as their requests are being processed.

“We need to remove the incentives to move illegally to begin with,” said DeSantis during a presidential campaign event at Eagle Pass, Texas on June 26. That means employment, that means taxpayer benefits…That also means this idea [that] you can come across the border, two days later have a child, and somehow that’s an American citizen.

Neither candidate has detailed how their policies will affect immigrants in the United States – from the tens of thousands detained in the U.S.-Mexico border to the estimated 11.1 million undocumented immigrants living in the country.

Diego Dulanto-Falcon, 24, immigrated to the United States from Peru when he was 3 years old because his parents were looking for better financial opportunities. He’s now a resident of the Tampa area and is a beneficiary of the Obama-administration immigration policy Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, DACA. In his community, he is a strong advocate for more inclusive, positive immigration policies. 

“Trump and DeSantis have always been anti-immigrant and very anti-undocumented,” Dulanto-Falcon said. “It makes me upset for what could happen [to] the rest of my community.”

Mayumi Kanashiro, 22, is also an immigrant from Peru. She was raised in Lima and came to the United States at 12 years old. She has lived in Miami ever since and is currently an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in digital communications and media. 

She is concerned about both GOP hopefuls’ proposals.

“I am worried about these immigration policies that either candidate has promised to make,” said Kanashiro. “It’s scary to think that detaining migrants at the border and forcing ideological screenings on them, as if they are other than human, can even be thought of as a reality. They have already gone through so much to get [to the United States].”

Laura Muñoz is the migrant justice coordinator for the non-partisan and non-profit organization Florida Student Power Network. The organization encourages Brown and Black youth in Florida to become more civically engaged and to provide a safe place to protest against harmful Floridian bills or laws. 

Through the many bills she has helped the youth protest against, such as SB 1718 and House Bill 999, which limits diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives in public higher education institutions. She described how the organization will continue to promote unity if a national anti-immigrant law is adopted. 

“I really encourage everyone to get connected to community organizations working in your community and thinking about how we are showing up to build that reality,” explained Muñoz. “We need to ask ourselves how we are showing up for the healing of our broader world.”

Alexandra Howard is a senior pursuing a dual degree in digital journalism and political science. She intends to later graduate from law school and become an immigration lawyer and political journalist.