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Key Immigration Questions and Resources Ahead of Las Vegas Presidential Debate

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Ahead of tonight’s final presidential debate in Las Vegas, and with immigration set to be a major focus of the proceedings, we offer key immigration questions for each candidate and offer additional backgrounders and resources for reading up on the most timely immigration-related topics.

Key Questions for Donald Trump:

1) You have said you will immediately end President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, including the DACA program that currently protects 750,000 young people commonly referred to as DREAMers from deportation. Once you revoke Obama’s executive action, will DREAMers be subject to deportation?

2) Polls consistently show that by at least a 3-1 margin Americans believe undocumented immigrants should be able to gain legal status by meeting certain criteria, rather than be deported. Why do you support the deportation of most of these people, especially given multiple reports that doing so would cause significant damage to the economy and impose significant costs on the federal government?

Key Questions for Hillary Clinton:

1) President Obama promised early action on immigration reform during his first year in office and again after his re-election. You have done the same. He didn’t get legislation passed, how will your administration be different?

2) What will be your policy toward Central Americans fleeing widespread violence in the northern triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala?

Background Resources:

New studies: immigrants benefit America, while Trump’s plan for mass deportation would harm America:

A massive new immigration study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine finds that immigration creates strong economic growth for the nation as a whole. As the chair of the NAS Panel, Dr. Francine D. Blau noted, “The panel’s comprehensive examination revealed many important benefits of immigration — including on economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship — with little to no negative effects on the overall wages or employment of native-born workers in the long term.”

A new immigration study from the Center for American Progress documents the costs that America would incur by implementing Trump’s deportation stance.

Immigration polling:

The American people are overwhelmingly – and increasingly – in favor of citizenship for undocumented immigrants. More than 72% of Americans back either citizenship or legalization for undocumented immigrants instead of deportation in recent polls from In New York Times/CBS, Quinnipiac, Washington Post/ABC News, CNN, and Gallup. In fact, as the Washington Post highlighted, Donald Trump’s overt nativism actually is “increasing sympathy for immigrants and depressing support for his harsh enforcement techniques.”

Immigrants and crime: 

Trump engages in blatant falsehoods regarding immigrants and criminality – see this American Immigration Council overview on how and why immigration is associated with less crime and safer communities.

Key Reminders and Takeaways:

Donald Trump has pledged to immediately end President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for DREAMers – a real threat to a real program that is a real benefit for approximately 750,000 DACA recipients (read the new Medium post from DACA recipient and America’s Voice staffer Juan Escalante, who writes that, “My ability to remain in the United States hinges on the 2016 general election”). Recently, Donald Trump, Jr. said that his father likely would seek to deport prominent DREAMer Astrid Silva (who herself penned a recent op-ed making the case for why DACA should matter to 2016 voters and affect races up and down the ballot).

Latinos poised to vote against TrumpNew battleground state polling by Latino Decisions, commissioned by NALEO Education Fund, shows that Latino voters are poised to vote against Trump by historic margins. Among Latino voters, Clinton leads Trump 70%-18% in Arizona; 63%-23% in Florida; 69%-19% in North Carolina; and 72%-17% in Nevada. This is crucial given the Latino vote will be bigger than ever this year – as measured by percentage of the overall vote and the actual numbers of voters – and many swing states have substantial Latino populations.

The two parties have never had a sharper contrast on immigration. As the Trump-led nativist backlash on the right pulls the Republican Party to the far right, Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party are leaning into pro-immigrant policies as never before: pledging to make reform with a path to citizenship a top legislative priority; maintaining the DACA program for DREAMers; and promising to “end family detention, close private detention facilities, and stop the raids and round ups,” as Clinton stated at the 2016 CHCI gala.