From Donald Trump’s first utterances as a presidential candidate in 2015 to the hundreds of policy actions undertaken during his administration, immigration has loomed as the major touchstone for his political base. It is the issue to which the president and his administration return again and again. Chaos at the U.S.-Mexico border resulted from a sharp uptick in flows, as well as outmatched policies, infrastructure, and resources. Now, a growing number of Americans cite immigration as one of the most crucial national issues. Yet Congress remains incapable of even small-bore fixes, continuing its nearly two-decade inability to undertake substantive immigration legislation. Vast differences exist among Republican and Democratic politicians and other stakeholders—from “build the wall” and narrowing humanitarian protections on one side, to #AbolishICE and pressing to decriminalize illegal crossings on the other.
Whither immigration as high-stakes elections approach in 2020? In this lively State of Play conversation, political and policy experts will explore the politics of immigration, the pitfalls for both political parties, and the potential for a post-election pause in the brinkmanship, along with what other pressing challenges may converge to force action in Washington.
Casey Christine Higgins, Former Assistant to the Speaker for Policy and Trade Counsel for former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI); Senior Policy Advisor, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer and Feld LLP
Lomi Kriel, Immigration Correspondent, Houston Chronicle
Lorella Praeli, President of Community Change Action and Vice President of Community Change
Julia Preston, Contributing Writer, The Marshall Project
Doris Meissner, Senior Fellow and Director, U.S. Immigration Policy Program, MPI