Republican Party on Immigration

Party Platform


Legal status for DACA in exchange for tighter laws


Republicans: Tighten immigration laws in exchange for legalizing DACA status. Sharply reduced legal immigration, penalized sanctuary cities, mandated worker verification and allotted $23.4 billion to border wall.

Democrats: Give DACA participants path to citizenship. Path to permanent legal U.S. residency and potential citizenship for "DREAMers," whom Obama's DACA program protected after they were brought to U.S. as children by parents who weren't legal immigrants.

Source: CampusElect on 2020 Major Party positions , Aug 30, 2020

OpEd: GOP study said "be comprehensive"; policy opposes that

By 2005, the Republican Party had built so much of its electoral strategy on openly exploiting racism that the chair of the Republican National Committee embarked on an apology tour aimed at repairing relationships with black Americans. And after the drubbing Republicans received in 2012, party leaders undertook an autopsy that concluded that if they did not change their message to include immigrants, Latinos, African Americans, and the LGBTQ community, and if they didn't do a better job of including women, they were doomed.

The report was quite specific: "We must embrace and champion comprehensive immigration reform. If we do not, our Party's appeal will continue to shrink to its core constituencies only." And its warning was unambiguous: "We must be a party that is welcoming and inclusive for all voters. "

But Donald Trump saw it differently. On the day back in March 2013 when the Republican report was released, he tweeted, "Does @RNC have a death wish?"

Source: This Fight is Our Fight, by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, p. 228 , Apr 18, 2017

A porous border puts our nation at risk

The surge of illegal immigrants across our borders cannot just be a wake-up call--it must be a call to action. As a nation of laws, we must insist that everyone come here legally and maintain legal status. A porous border puts our communities and our nation at risk. America must secure the border once and for all by accelerating the deployment of fencing, technology, air assets, and personnel. We must also protect our country and promote fairness by enforcing our immigration laws.

Americans know our borders are not secure--and so do criminals, drug cartels, and violent extremists. A flood of illicit traffic across our borders has destabilized communities and damaged our national security. The problem is vast.

Securing the borders is no small task, but it is a fundamental responsibility of our government. Make no mistake: The borders are not secure, and the threats along them are growing more dynamic by the day.

Source: A Better Way: Our Vision for U.S. Security (GOP plan) , Jun 9, 2016

OpEd: GOP ignores fact of increasing ethnic minorities

Numerous explanations for Romney's defeat came into play, and nearly all of them were demographic. Our nation has experienced rapid and dramatic demographic changes over the past decade, including an aging population; a reduced number of marriages; a decline of religion; and above all, a rapidly growing population of racial and ethnic minorities. Over the past decade, minorities have accounted for 85% of the nation's population growth. Throughout that time, the Republican Party has clung to its core constituency, seeking to squeeze more votes from an ever-shrinking base--in other words, it has been living on borrowed time. In 2012, the inexorable math, combined with the party's unwillingness and inability to expand its base, finally caught up with it.
Source: Immigration Wars, by Jeb Bush, p.199-200 , Mar 5, 2013

Make E-verify mandatory nationwide

In this country, the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more than one million immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year. That is why we oppose any form of amnesty for those who intentionally violate the law. Granting amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking.

We support the mandatory use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E.) program--an internet-based system that verifies the lawful presence of applicants.

We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program--an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees-- must be made mandatory nationwide. State enforcement efforts in the workplace must be welcomed, not attacked. When Americans need jobs, it is absolutely essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace.

Source: 2012 Republican Party Platform , Aug 27, 2012

Asian-Americans are natural Republicans, but vote Democratic

Some Republicans believe that Asian-Americans, our second largest immigrant group, who have solid family values and a strong work ethic, are "natural-born Republicans" who will offset the votes of immigrants who trend Democratic. This appears a forlorn hope. Though President Bush's father narrowly won the Asian vote against Bill Clinton, George W. lost the Asian-American vote by a landslide in every survey taken after the 2004 election.

On the breakout figures, the news is even worse for the GOP. Among South Asians (Indians, Bangladeshis, Pakistanis), Kerry mopped up the floor with President Bush, 90-9. And, as among Hispanics, Democratic identification is strongest among first-time voters.

Source: State of Emergency, by Pat Buchanan, p. 62 , Oct 2, 2007

Use biometric data to better track foreign travelers

Ensuring the integrity of our borders is vital to ensuring the safety of our citizens. We must know the identity of all visitors who enter the US, and we must know when they leave. The US-VISIT system, which uses biometric data to better track the entry and exit of foreign travelers, has been implemented at more than 115 airports and is presently being implemented at land border crossings. Reconnaissance cameras, border patrol agents, and unmanned aerial flights have all been increased at our borders. We must strengthen our Border Patrol to stop illegal crossings, and we will equip the Border Patrol with the tools, technologies, structures, and sufficient force necessary to secure the border. We will seek stiff penalties for those who smuggle illegal aliens into the country and for those who sell fraudulent documents. We urge continued support for state, local, and federal law enforcement to work in a cohesive manner in securing our borders to prevent illegal entry.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 14 , Sep 7, 2004

Only legal immigrants, through tightly controlled borders

The Republican Party supports reforming the immigration system to ensure that it is legal, safe, orderly and humane. It also supports measures to ensure that the immigration system is structured to address the needs of national security.

To better ensure that immigrants enter the United States only through legal means that allow for verification of their identity, reconnaissance cameras, border patrol agents, and unmanned aerial flights have all been increased at the border. In addition, Border Patrol agents now have sweeping new powers to deport illegal aliens without having first to go through the cumbersome process of allowing the illegal alien to have a hearing before an immigration judge. We support these efforts to enforce the law while welcoming immigrants who enter America through legal avenues.

Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 80-81 , Sep 1, 2004

Amnesty encourages illegal immigration

A growing economy requires a growing number of workers, and President Bush has proposed a new temporary worker program that applies when no Americans can be found to fill the jobs. This new program would allow workers who currently hold jobs to come out of the shadows and to participate legally in America’s economy. It would allow men and women who enter the program to apply for citizenship in the same manner as those who apply from outside the United States. There must be strong workplace enforcement with tough penalties against employees and employers who violate immigration laws. We oppose amnesty because it would have the effect of encouraging illegal immigration and would give an unfair advantage to those who have broken our laws.
Source: 2004 Republican Party Platform, p. 80-81 , Sep 1, 2004

Reform & toughen immigration system to emphasize family

Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention , Aug 12, 2000

Focus immigration on needed skills

We support increasing the number of H-1B visas to ensure high-tech workers in specialized positions, and we will expand the H-2A program for temporary agricultural workers.
Source: Republican Platform adopted at GOP National Convention , Aug 12, 2000

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Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
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George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
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Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

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Page last updated: Feb 24, 2022