The Republican Platform on Immigration

This week’s Republican convention does not include a new platform statement. Here are highlight’s from the 2016 platform, as described at that time by the Migration Policy Institute:

The platform, for the first time in recent history, asks for a reduction in legal immigration by arguing that “it is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year.”

It contains two central themes embraced by presidential nominee Donald Trump since he made immigration a centerpiece of his campaign: building a wall on the southern border and screening immigrants from certain countries or with certain religious affiliations.

It calls for walling off the entire 2,000-mile border.

The platform advocates “special scrutiny” for foreign nationals seeking admission from terror-sponsoring countries or “regions associated with Islamic terrorism.”

In a major departure from one of Trump’s primary themes, and in a concession to the standard party position, the platform is silent on enforcement measures against the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants—refraining from taking a stance on the candidate’s call for mass deportations.

And it seeks major revisions of the criteria for granting refugee or asylum status—by limiting protection to “cases of political, ethnic, or religious persecution.” The United States is one of 145 signatory countries to the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which defines a refugee as someone fleeing persecution based on “reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion.”

Elsewhere, the platform reprises the traditional fare of prior blueprints, but with a sprinkling of the more hard-edged rhetoric common today. These include preventing states from issuing licenses to unauthorized immigrants, mandatory five-year prison sentences for illegal re-entry, penalizing states and localities that are commonly known as “sanctuary cities,” and recognizing the role of states in immigration enforcement.

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