This Thursday, June 27, at 9 p.m. ET, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are set to hold their first presidential debate. It will broadcast live on various CNN platforms and be streamed on and YouTube. This debate offers a crucial opportunity for voters to understand the future directions proposed by each candidate regarding U.S. immigration policy.


The Candidates


President Biden’s approach to immigration policy has combined a strategy for securing the border and seeking to creating humane, orderly immigration pathways. Recently, the administration has taken steps to reduce border crossings while focusing on humanitarian solutions that integrate long-standing undocumented immigrants and their families into American society. For instance, President Biden has reinstated certain policies to manage the surge in border crossings. More recently, the Administration issued an executive order to establish a new process aimed to help undocumented noncitizen spouses of U.S. citizens, who have been in the country for more than 10 years, apply for lawful permanent residence without leaving the country. That same order also outlined the Administration’s goal to facilitate the employment visa process for those who have graduated from college and have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients.


In contrast, former President Trump’s rhetoric and proposals suggest a return to and intensification of the stringent immigration controls seen during his previous term. His campaign pledges to resume construction of the border wall, end catch-and-release, and reinstate the “Remain in Mexico” policy. More controversially, Trump has proposed what would be the largest mass deportation effort in U.S. history, aiming to deport millions of undocumented immigrants.  Trump’s stance on legal immigration, particularly concerning high-skilled immigrants, reflects a merit-based system but comes with stringent ideological vetting that raises concerns about inclusivity and fairness. He has recently indicated that all U.S. college graduates should be given a green card, before his campaign walked it back indicating that it should only be for certain programs and vetting for the foreign national’s ideology. His previous and potential future policies, such as the travel bans and significant restrictions on asylum rights, signal a hardline approach that prioritizes strict border control over humanitarian considerations.

The Debate and Immigration Policy


The upcoming debate offers a significant opportunity for both candidates to address key details and clarify their specific immigration proposals, particularly President Biden’s recent executive order and former President Trump’s plans regarding green cards for college graduates.


President Biden’s recent executive order aims to facilitate the employment visa process for college graduates and those who have a high-skilled job offer, including DACA recipients,  as well as to streamline the process for certain noncitizen family members of U.S. citizens to achieve lawful permanent residence. This order is critical in its potential to affect nearly half a million families, ensuring they can stay together without the threat of separation. The specifics of this order, including eligibility criteria and implementation, will be crucial points for Biden to articulate, allowing voters to understand how his administration plans to handle mixed-status families and long-standing undocumented immigrants under U.S. law.


On the other side, former President Trump has proposed granting green cards to college graduates, which he suggests would retain highly-skilled individuals who can contribute to the American economy. However, this proposal has seen adjustments and notable retractions from his campaign, particularly concerning the scope of eligibility and the vetting process, which reportedly includes ideological screening. Trump will need to provide clarity on these points, specifying who will qualify, how the vetting will be conducted, and how this policy aligns with broader immigration reforms aimed at protecting American workers while also promoting innovation and economic growth.


This debate is an opportunity for each candidate to outline broad visions but also delve into practical aspects of their proposed policies.


Click below to follow along with McEntee Law Group and stay informed of how these immigration policies play out.

get the latest
[gravityform id="3" title="true" description="false" ajax="true"]
[gravityform id="4" title="true" description="true" ajax="true"]