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Trump’s Anti-Immigrant Onslaught: A Dark Plague Coming in 2024?

The United States of America has been the safe haven of many immigrants through the centuries, becoming known as a nation of “immigrants and refugees” by former President Obama in 2015. But since President Donald Trump took office in 2017, his administration has launched an all-out assault on immigrants with his “zero-tolerance” policies. Over the past four years, Trump has implemented sweeping restrictions on legal immigration, bolstered immigration enforcement, and sought to drastically reduce the number of immigrants allowed into the country. This has sparked a wave of fresh alarm amongst immigrant advocates and legislators, as well as those looking towards the future of the rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment heading into the 2024 Presidential elections. The Trump Administration has sought to curtail legal immigration through a variety of means, including the travel ban targeting a number of Muslim-majority countries. This policy was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018 despite its blatantly xenophobic nature. Additionally, the Trump Administration has drastically reduced the number of refugees admitted to the US, with the annual number of refugees of not more than 18,000 in 2020 – the lowest since 1980. By limiting paths to legal immigration, the Trump Administration has pushed many would-be immigrants to take the risk of illegal entry into the United States. To combat illegal immigration, the Trump Administration has taken a hard-line stance resulting in the separation of families at the US-Mexico border and the construction of the southern border wall. This practice has long been criticized as inhumane given that a number of these families are actually legally seeking asylum in the United States. The Administration has also sought to reduce even legal immigration, instituting dramatic new fees for applications and making it increasingly difficult to qualify even for temporary visas. Such a continued anti-immigration stance has created a heightened sense of panic among many immigrants and their supporters. With the recent election of Joe Biden, hope hangs in the air that the Biden Administration will bring a more friendly and approachable immigration policy to the table. However, the march of anti-immigrant sentiment has been a long and steady one, and there is a real possibility that the malicious rhetoric and policies of the Trump Administration may still linger in the forthcoming 2024 Presidential elections. For now, immigrant advocates are in wait-and-see mode, hoping that the Biden Administration will act swiftly to reverse Trump’s damaging policies. But, heading into 2024, there is an ever-present concern that the fear and hatred infused by Trump may still prove deeply damaging to the prospects of a more progressive and welcoming America.