WashU Expert: Trump likely to be restrictive on immigration


Donald Trump the candidate called for a number of hard-line immigration policies, talking about building a wall between the United States and Mexico, deporting millions of illegal immigrants and banning Muslims from entering the country.

Stephen Legomsky, a renowned expert on immigration policy, offers his thoughts on President Trump’s potential policies. Legomsky, the John S. Lehmann University Professor Emeritus at the Washington University School of Law, was senior counsel to the secretary of Homeland Security on immigration issues and former chief counsel of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

  • The wall: “Congress won’t fund the kind of wall Trump promised, and Mexico won’t pay for it. But to save face, President Trump and congressional leaders will likely agree to a modest extension of the existing border fence.”
  • Mass deportations: “I expect increased congressional funding for higher numbers of removals, but the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants is both fiscally and logistically implausible.”
  • Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA): “President Trump will likely rescind DACA but probably will not try to revoke and retrieve the work permits of the existing DACA recipients because the processes for doing so would be extremely cumbersome. The existing work permits will eventually expire on their own.”
  • Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR): “Comprehensive immigration reform is possible, now that congressional Republicans have less incentive to oppose a Democratic president. But it would likely be a trimmed-down version of the bill the Senate passed in 2013, and it will probably include additional harsh penalties.”
  • Refugees: “The president decides how many refugees to admit each year and from where. I expect President Trump to reduce our total annual refugee admissions dramatically, especially from the Middle East.”
  • Muslim ban: “I don’t think President Trump will bar all Muslims, but he is likely to issue an executive order blocking the entry of all or most individuals from certain designated countries. Details are hard to predict.”
  • Executive appointments: “He will appoint immigration hard-liners to key leadership positions in the various immigration agencies. For these appointments, he will rely on the advice of the anti-immigrant organizations.”

Legomsky, who has provided expert testimony to both the House and Senate Judiciary committees on immigration, is the principal author of “Immigration and Refugee Law and Policy,” which has been the required text for immigration courses in 185 law schools.

Editor’s note: Members of the media interested in interviewing Legomsky can reach him by email at legomsky@wustl.edu or by phone at 314-935-6469 (office) or 314-779-4713 (cell).

Read more from our experts on Election 2016.

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