AILA: Trump Immigration Policy Unworkable and Inhumane

George Tzamaras
Belle Woods

WASHINGTON, DC - The mission of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) includes the promotion of justice and advocacy for fair and reasonable immigration laws. In response to the immigration platform presented by Donald Trump, AILA expressed deep concern over his dark portrayal of immigrants as criminals and a drain on our society and economy. His speech reflected a lack of understanding of immigration law, a disregard for fundamental rights of due process guaranteed by the Constitution, and a failure to appreciate the valuable contributions that immigrants make in every sector of our economy and in communities across the country.

AILA President William A. Stock said, "Donald Trump promised he was going to offer a vision for immigration policy that would make things better for American citizens. But his plan would do real harm to the American economy, make it harder for American businesses to hire workers, rip apart American families, waste the investments Americans have made in hundreds of thousands of young immigrants aspiring to the American dream, and weaken the status of our country around the world."

Mr. Stock continued, "What is wrong with his plan? It's all about cracking down hard on immigrants, which has been tried and failed since 1996. At this point, America's immigration system is holding America back. Small and big business owners across the country should be wondering 'how in the world am I going to hire the workers I need to stay competitive?' American families waiting to reunify with their loved ones should be angry that Donald Trump's plan assumes their relatives will never succeed in the way they did, so would gut the family immigration categories. He called for keeping immigration levels at 'historic norms,' but the last time Congress updated immigration levels was a generation ago. Our country cannot afford to be stuck with last century's immigration policy in perpetuity."

Benjamin Johnson, AILA Executive Director noted, "Lost in Donald's Trump speech on immigration is the fact that today's immigrants, including the undocumented, are learning English and moving up the wage and income ladders as fast, or faster, than any generation of immigrants in history. They are buying homes, starting businesses and integrating into their communities at unprecedented rates. The portrait of America and immigrants that he painted bears absolutely no resemblance to what most Americans see and experience. Rather than seeking to better manage immigration as a powerful resource, his proposals focus entirely on new ways to keep immigrants out, including the utterly impractical, if not impossible, goal of building an 'impenetrable' border wall and a pledge to detain everyone until they've been deported. He has forgotten that our Constitution protects us from a government that would deprive us of liberty without due process, and he has forgotten the fundamental principles of fairness and proportionality that distinguish our judicial system from most of the rest of the world."

Mr. Johnson continued, "What Donald Trump got right was the goal of reforming our immigration system in a way that is good for American workers, supports American families, and strengthens the US economy. That has been AILA's goal for the last 70 years. Unfortunately, the policy prescriptions that Donald Trump laid out last night would accomplish nothing of the sort. Instead, they would tear American families apart, create chaos in communities across America, and would be disastrous for the US economy."


The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.

Cite as AILA Doc. No. 16090164.