In 2015, Donald Trump campaigned on a pledge to build an “impenetrable and beautiful” wall along the entire 3,150-kilometre-long Mexico border in order to stop illegal migrants from crossing into the US.
The US president has justified his landmark promise by a willingness to crack down on gangs, drug smuggling, and human trafficking of would-be immigrants while describing the situation at the United States’ southern border as a "humanitarian crisis, a crisis of the heart and a crisis of the soul".
As the country is getting closer to the 2020 presidential election, Tom Homan, the former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), has suggested that if Trump's potential rival, ex-Vice President Joe Biden, emerges victorious in the November vote, the southern border will once again plunge into “chaos”, with drug smuggling rife and instances of rapes and deaths among migrants soaring.
Entrepreneur and former Republican candidate for the US House of Representatives from Arizona Sergio Arellano has offered his views on the matter.
Sputnik: To what extent would you agree with Tom Homan's statement? How might the situation at the border shift if Joe Biden were to win the 2020 election?
Sergio Arellano: I think tentatively it could be worse. The reason is that if you look at past administrations who have had a tougher stance when it comes to security, you can see the policies of President Trump are very different from what is being proposed from candidate Joe Biden. Joe Biden is trying to stop deportations. He says so on his platform. And he's trying to appease the left of his party so that they vote for him and help him out. But what the Department of Homeland Security director is pointing to is the candidate's platform and the level of success that President Trump has had when it comes to border security.
Sputnik: Joe Biden’s immigration agenda may lead to a massive rollback of President Donald Trump’s accomplishments — such as a reinstatement of DACA and a moratorium on all deportations during his first 100 days in office. How viable is this agenda in comparison to President Trump’s policies? What is the best way to contain the issues the US-Mexican border is facing?
Sergio Arellano: The viability of Joe Biden’s plan is kind of 50/50. You actually need the Congress and the Senate to agree when it comes to DACA and deportations. As you saw in Obama's administration... they were calling him in the Latino community - the "deporter in chief". Because he managed to deport more people than any other president in history. So as president, you have a lot of influence, you have a lot of access and the ability to stop or create more deportations. So it’s 50/50. Because, if the Congress remains Democrat, then they have to fight it out with the Senate and it remains with the Republicans. But if both chambers go Democrat, then by then we'll get his way.
Sputnik: How does the ongoing crisis at the border affect legal migrants coming from the south? What is the sentiment among Hispanics in border states, who legally came into the country?
Sergio Arellano: It's kind of disheartening in the Latino community. With Hispanics in specific, especially in Arizona, there are people that are trying to come in the right way. People that get in line, that have been waiting for years. And so when you issue orders that stop all immigration altogether, it makes it a little difficult.
But at the same time, you also have to figure in the state of crisis that we're in - who's coming in, who is coming out. And right now, our economies are terrible. I think you're seeing what's happening worldwide. And so for one side, we're disheartened because of the immigration part. But on the other side, you know, we want them to have an America that is viable and strong and that can help them achieve the American dream that they are looking for here in the United States.
Sputnik: Are there any conflicts between legal and illegal Hispanic immigrants?
Sergio Arellano: At the end of the day, once you remove the classifications for anybody, we’re all human beings. Regardless of party platform, stances, conflicts. In the Latino community, some are not in favour of illegal immigration. I, for one, am not in favour of illegal immigration. Not because they are stealing, they are coming here to do crime or anything else, but because tons of people that are coming here illegally are exposing themselves to risk - they can die in the desert.
Not only did he cross illegally, but now he's also facing felony charges for smuggling drugs into the United States. You hear this all across the communities. You have grandmothers, aunts, family members concerned because they haven't heard from their loved ones in three months, or six months. So they're either dead or in jail. Statistically, you see that women and children are being raped across the border too. So a lot of the concern for illegal immigration is because you're crossing over and you're exposing yourself to a lot of danger. And I think that's what you see in the community when it comes to the conflict.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.