Department of Homeland Security reports show over the years tighter enforcement has significantly increased the number of immigrants who use human smugglers to cross the border (i.e., virtually everyone crossing now employs smugglers). The policies have also resulted in an increased loss of life. In July 2022, 53 immigrants suffocated inside a tractor-trailer in San Antonio.

Opposition To Legal Immigration: Ironically, the Trump administration is likely to try every measure to combat illegal entry but the one proven effective in reducing illegal entry: Making it easier to enter and work legally in the United States.

Research from the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) found that a significant increase in the lawful admission of farm workers during the 1950s under the Bracero Program dramatically reduced illegal entry to America. Based on apprehensions at the border, unlawful entry across the southwest border declined by 95% between 1953 and 1959, as farm workers entered legally in greater numbers.

Trump Immigration Policies Will Likely Decimate Long-Term U.S. Economic Growth: Labor force growth is a crucial part of economic growth, without which Americans grow poorer or see their standard of living stagnate.

Those who argued that Donald Trump was only concerned about limiting illegal immigration have a problem—it’s not true. Unlike any president before him, Trump made broad use of executive authority under section 212(f) to restrict legal immigration and suspend the entry of many categories of immigrants and temporary visa holders. In 2020, this prevented the entry of workers and professionals on temporary visas, and immigrants on family, employment-based and Diversity visas. He also set the lowest refugee admissions ceiling of any president.

Given another term, expect refugee admissions to be extremely low and for Trump to use section 212(f) to bypass Congress and block the entry of many immigrants and visa holders. The ban on immigration from a number of majority Muslim countries could return.

The impact of Trump’s policies would be devastating to the nation’s future economic growth. A National Foundation for American Policy analysis concluded if Trump’s policies had continued, legal immigration would have been reduced in half, and “average annual labor force growth would be approximately 59% lower than compared to a policy of no immigration reductions.”

In 2021 and 2022, America saw the negative results of Trump’s immigration policies, with an estimated 2 million immigrant workers missing from the U.S. labor force blamed for reducing U.S. economic output and contributing to inflation. Another four years of similar policies would likely produce more negative results, potentially longer term, if enacted by legislation.

Trump Likely To Push More International Students And High-Skilled Professionals Away From The U.S.:During the Trump administration, many international students diverted away from the United States, primarily to Canada, and employers saw denial rates for H-1B petitions skyrocket. Expect America to lose talent in even more significant numbers should the entire Trump immigration agenda against highly educated foreign nationals come to fruition.

Businesses and universities should expect every idea or regulation the Trump administration failed to implement to be tried again. That would mean:

– New limits on who qualifies for an H-1B petition and how (and where) an H-1B visa holder can work;

– Requiring employers to pay well above-market wages for H-1B visa holders and employees sponsored for permanent residence;

– New restrictions on international students and Optional Practical Training (OPT), and other policies.

There is no evidence such policies would help U.S. workers or American students—the evidence shows the opposite would be true. The harm to the U.S. economy and future innovation would be real.

Between 2017 and 2020, attorneys representing businesses, universities and immigrant rights organizations successfully blocked several Trump policies. That task would become much more difficult the second time around since former Trump officials would have learned from their mistakes and have a fresh four years to implement restrictive immigration policies.

What Would A Different Republican President Do? A different Republican president, such as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, would likely adopt many of Trump’s policies on illegal immigration. However, DeSantis (or another Republican) might not allow Stephen Miller back in the White House. Without Miller, a different Republican president could adopt policies on legal immigration more consistent with the views of mainstream economists, particularly given the potential for Republican inroads with Asian and Latino voters.

New Limits On The Freedom Of Americans: Trump’s most significant policies will restrict legal immigration, which, economists note, will harm innovation and reduce economic growth in America. But the impact will be broader.

“An immigration restriction is a government ban on a wide variety of economic activities by natives,” according toeconomist Michael Clemens. By that standard, a second Trump term would mean less freedom for consumers who wish to enjoy products and services offered by immigrants, Americans who hope to sponsor family members and employers who want to hire foreign-born scientists and engineers to compete in the global economy.