While considering how an election year affects immigration in the USA, it must not be forgotten that USA is one of the countries that were built and have thrived on immigration from the moment of their inception. Immigration continues to play a very crucial role in the economic, social, cultural and political determination of the country. It is one of the most debated and focused issues in politics, particularly in the election campaigns. Not only does immigration play an important role in determining the political course of the State, but the Election year also has a significant impact on immigration. We will further breakdown this two way process and see how an election year affects immigration in the USA.

The impact of elections on immigration comes after the results have been announced and elected party takes the charge. And the nature of the impact, or simply put, how an election year affects immigration in the USA, completely depends upon the agenda and stance of the elected party. For example, the executive call made by President Obama in November 2015 over the ‘amnesty’ program, soon after the midterm elections, lead to a possibility of legalizing as much as 11 million ‘undocumented’ immigrants. This was not received well and Obama had to face 26 lawsuits filed by different States.

How Do American Presidential Elections Work

Before we get to discuss how an election year affects immigration in the USA, we must understand how American Presidential elections work. They are time and energy consuming for sure, but also very complex. The process of campaigning starts long before the actual campaign period starts. The candidates have to hire staff, organize the set up, and raise funds to support their campaign. The main campaign is preceded by a primary campaign in which candidates from both, Republican and Democratic, parties compete to be the nominees. The primary campaign is based on many interviews, speeches, announcements, fundraisers, public interaction and from 2015, debates which are followed up by an open floor session with media. If we chart out a timeline, it will show the process to be started from February 2016 and continuing till June, followed by party conventions in late July. The elections are formally held in November and the new President takes office from January 2017.

The general elections are purely state based and each state has a given number of electoral votes. The number of votes the candidate succeeds in obtaining from the public is then compensated by electoral votes to calculate the results. For example President Obama won 60% of the votes in California and therefore won 55 of the total electoral votes in California.

Possible Ways: How an Election Year Affects Immigration in the USA

The way how an election year affects immigration in the USA can be measured using a variety of approaches. Here are a few possible resultant situations that may arise after an election year ends.

  • The immigration process might be made challenging
  • The documentation and legal requirements may be increased
  • The nature of immigration may be changed, for example, to guest worker status
  • The inflow of immigrants may increase due to relaxed laws

Immigration Reform by President Obama: perfect example of how an election year affects immigration in the USA

The immigration reforms introduced after Obama’s re-election in 2012 serve to be a perfect example of how an election year affects immigration in the USA .President Obama had a difficult time having the immigrations being passed by the Congress through votes in Senate and House of Representatives. The Republicans had control over both, the House of Representatives and the Senate, from which the former did not allow a vote on the legislation, leading Obama to make a bold call by using Executive Action to pass the legislation. This obviously carried the message that Obama did not need the support of Congress to make this move.

Immigration Reform

Over the years the Hispanics have a great influence in directing the voting turnouts of American Elections and this indirectly affects how an election year affects immigration in the USA. In 2012’s elections, Obama greatly relied on this factor and vowed a number of immigration reforms particularly in favor of this community. The Immigration Modernization Bill was a bi-partisan bill which the Senate passed but the House of Representatives did not allow a vote on it, hence President Obama use Executive Action to make it happen. The bill faced strong criticism by anti-immigration groups as it allowed a temporary stay to 4.3 million more undocumented immigrants and exemptions on deportation for three years along with issuance of work permits to them. The bill has application to immigrants who

  • Migrated before 2010 and were 16 years old or younger at that time
  • Migrated before 2010 and have at least one child who is a US citizen or permanent resident

The bill also held chance for skilled workers to apply, notching up the workforce by 200,000 workers migrating to USA. Obama also promised to replace the Secure Committee program with Priority Enforcement Program, which opened pathways for an immigration policy that would be more of liberal in nature.

The Impact of 2016’s Elections on How an Election Year Affects Immigration in the USA

2016 has brought a lot of buzz to the political front due to the stance of presidential candidates on the matter of immigration. All the candidates have variant opinions and plans to deal with issues related to legalization of immigrants, allowance of refugees, etc. The 2016 elections apparently seem to be mainly themed around immigration reforms and Hispanic votes. Discussed below is how an election year affects immigration in the USA based on the electoral manifesto of the candidates:

Hillary Clinton

Clinton ran into controversy due to her shift in 2008 Presidential race over opinion on the matter of drivers license being issued to undocumented immigrants or not. She is in favor of pathway of citizenship of undocumented immigrants and has been very vocal about it being a top priority. She also plans on establishing an Office of Immigrant Affairs which will deal with immigration policies. Hillary Clinton has elaborately spoke about her disapproval of immigrants being raided for living past their legal deadline, particularly the ones fleeing violence from Central America, as well as of Obama’s administration plan of raiding illegal immigrants. On the other hand she has also called for increased financial support of lawyers fighting the cases of these illegal immigrants. Hillary Clinton’s plans are quite strong to define how an election year affects immigration in the USA, especially the spirit to make an Office of Immigrant Affairs.

One of the factors of paramount importance to determine how an election year affects immigration in the USA is being brought forward as representatives by the candidate. Hillary Clinton selected the top 8 immigration activists to endorse her campaign and that speaks volumes about her plans to deal with this matter.

Bernie Sanders

Bernie has a go-getter attitude and plans to take things in his own hands if the Congress fails pass any comprehensive immigration reforms. He is strictly against the deportation of families from Central America who fled from violence and chaos back home and are living illegally in USA. Sanders also has plans to expand on two of the programs initiated by President Obama; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of U.S. Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). He is determined to give relief from deportation to parents of recipients of DACA and provide a pathway of citizenship to them if they qualify under the eligibility criteria of having a legal status. How an election year affects immigration in the USA in Sanders’ case is majorly dependent on the plan of providing pathway to citizenship to the millions of undocumented immigrant, the relief of detention centers and elimination of possible deportation of these 11 million undocumented immigrants, and improved border security using the technology of thermal imaging and cameras.

Donald Trump

Donald Trump has been having a controversial presidential run due to his straightforward, blunt and considerably extreme views on the most heated topic; immigration. The candidates agree on matters of Saudi Arabia, ISIS and Israel but have difference of opinion over Syria, Rhetoric, and Iran, and Trump has actively spoken about restricting immigration for refugees and different groups. Donald trump has faced a lot of heat over his plans of limiting the immigration making more strict policies and building a wall on Mexican border, which he has said should be paid for by the Mexican government. His rhetoric have not been received well, to say the least, by many countries and majority of the public. But despite of that, Donald Trump seems to be gaining a lot of popularity in the polls. If one wonders how an election year affects immigration in the USA after Donald Trump taking charge, it will not be very easy for the immigrants as Trump plans to increase the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers y thrice as much of now, building a wall on the Southern US border, and increasing the penalties on people who stay long after their visa expires.

Judging how an election year affects immigration in the USA based on the agendas of the three active candidates

Analysis of Hillary Clinton’s plan for immigration and immigrant citizenship, how an election year affects immigration in the USA might be a positive turnaround. Similar results can be expected from Bernie Sanders. The undocumented immigrants may have a chance at obtaining citizenship and deportation may be relieved for many. However, in case of Donald Trump, the answer to how an election year affects immigration in the USA is going to be very different. The restrictions and challenges to being a guest worker are going to be increased, so one can imagine how the turnaround would be for immigrants. In case of Trump, how an election year affects immigration in the USA may be in the form of clean sweep of illegal immigrants and deportation back to their native lands.

How immigration may affect the election in USA

It is a flipside of how an election year affects immigration in the USA. In 2012, a dominant trend of appeal with Hispanic and Asian voters was seen in case of the Democratic Party, while Republicans lost it because of harsh rhetoric against the two communities. Polls for Primary and General elections in many states have shown that having anti-immigration stance in campaigns would be a huge mistake as only one out of five voters in different states are anti-immigration, otherwise the rest are open to liberal immigration policies. Additionally, candidates who hold a negative stance against immigration will be starting off at a disadvantage of 24-points among possible voter. This approximate disadvantage can increase further more among the primary electoral groups like college going youth, women and Hispanic community. These are the groups which actually direct how an election year affects immigration in the USA and vice versa. History has given this lesson many a times and most recently, Mitt Romney was the one to learn it. Looking back to 2012 elections, he acknowledged his mistake of not taking the minority voters in consideration while campaigning.

A very similar observation has been made in the elections of 2016. While anti-immigration stance has been taken by candidate Donald Trump claiming that ‘American People’ are against the immigration policies of the country, a very recent survey conducted in the months of April and May 2016 by the Brookings Institution and Public Religion Research Institute shows that people are not against the immigration policies of the State. They definitely acknowledge the eminent threats the nation faces due to terrorism but that does not lead to any bitter or harsh opinions about immigration. The survey showed that as many as 58% of the participants were not in favor of banning Muslims and a solid 55% did not support a law that would not allow Syrian refugees to enter American borders. On the issue of US-Mexican border, 61% voted for illegal immigrants to be allowed a way to become legal citizens, 58% voted against building a wall on US-Mexico border and 47% were of the opinion that immigrants strengthen USA because of their talent and work skills. Such strongly liberal views by the American people clearly show that how an election year affects immigration in the USA can be changed in 2016.

Having said that, it cannot be ignored that a very significant majority of Americans do consider immigrants as a threat to their safety and economy. And keeping a check on reality, the views may take a sharp turn toward the latter after recent times. This keeps the pendulum swinging back and forth as to how an election year affects immigration in the USA, in 2016 particularly.

The immigrant voters’ population has also changed over the years, and very positively so. They have well adopted the American culture and have liberal and open views now. Interestingly, they are more Democratic in nature and Republicans have yet to find a way to win this voting bank. So keeping this point of view in mind, how an election year affects immigration in the USA can be a completely changed ball game this one time.

It is very clear that immigration is a very important issue and much needs to be discussed about it. The candidates who put it as discussable matter during campaigns are definitely more likely to have a more successful run for votes. This would mean that the winning contenders will have to work on the immigration policies, which in turn decides how an election year affects immigration in the USA. So all in all, elections have a very powerful impact on deciding immigration policies in USA.