A Detailed Analysis of U.S. Immigration Issues

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CDS Africa

Administrator . Updated July 1, 2024


Immigration has been a defining feature of the United States since its inception. The country’s identity as a "nation of immigrants" has shaped its demographic, cultural, and economic landscapes. However, immigration remains a complex and contentious issue, encompassing legal and illegal immigration, border security, the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, and the integration of immigrants into American society.               

Policy and Political Debate

Immigration policy is a polarizing issue in U.S. politics, with significant differences between and within political parties.

Republican Perspectives

The Republican Party’s stance on immigration generally emphasizes border security, law enforcement, and a merit-based system. Their positions are often rooted in concerns about national security, economic impact, and the rule of law.

Republicans advocate for building and maintaining physical barriers, such as walls and fences, along the U.S.-Mexico border to prevent illegal entry. This approach aims to deter unauthorized crossings and drug trafficking.

There is also a strong push for increased use of advanced technology like drones, sensors, and surveillance cameras to monitor the border more effectively. In addition, they hold the view that expanding the number of border patrol agents is essential to enforcing border security and preventing illegal immigration.

Republicans support the strict enforcement of immigration laws, including the deportation of undocumented immigrants who have violated these laws. They argue that this upholds the rule of law and deters future illegal immigration.

The party opposes sanctuary cities—jurisdictions that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. They believe these policies undermine law enforcement and public safety.

Democratic Perspectives

The Democratic Party’s stance on immigration focuses on humanitarian concerns, family reunification, and pathways to citizenship. Their positions are grounded in principles of inclusivity, compassion, and the belief in the economic and cultural contributions of immigrants.

Democrats advocate for comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, especially those brought to the U.S. as children (DREAMers).

They strongly support the DACA program, which protects “Dreamers” from deportation and provides them with work permits. Democrats push for better treatment of detainees, particularly children, and ensure that detention facilities meet high humanitarian standards.

The party advocates for protecting the rights of asylum seekers and increasing the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. They emphasize the need for a fair and efficient asylum process.

 Biden to Give Legal Status to Undocumented Spouses

On June 15, 2024, President Biden announced a pioneering new policy to grant legal status to undocumented spouses of US citizens and lawful permanent residents. This transformative program represents a substantial shift in the US immigration landscape, resolving long-standing challenges for mixed-status families.

By providing a path to legal residency, the policy not only promotes family unity and stability but also improves the economic, social, and emotional well-being of migrant families and their children. This program demonstrates the administration's dedication to justice, compassion, and integrating all community members into the fabric of American society.

The action will benefit those who have been in the country for at least ten years and will allow them to lawfully work in the United States. It is the most major relief program for undocumented migrants already in the United States since the Obama administration introduced Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in 2012. The qualifying individuals will be granted a three-year work visa and have three years to apply for permanent residency.

Significance of the policy

One of the most prominent benefits of this program is the encouragement of family unity and stability. Many mixed-status families live in continual fear of being separated because their undocumented spouse could be deported. This dread impairs family life, leading to mental discomfort and instability.

The policy also has significant economic benefits. Undocumented spouses can work lawfully, contributing to the household income and easing financial hardship. With work authorization, these individuals can pursue better job options, which will improve their economic chances. This not only benefits the individual and their family, but it also boosts the economy.

Access to social services is vital for undocumented people, who frequently avoid accessing necessary services out of fear of deportation. The new program will give them access to healthcare, education, and other social services, boosting their overall quality of life. This access is especially important during times of crisis, such as health emergencies, when prompt medical attention can save lives.

The policy's advantages extend greatly to the offspring of undocumented couples. It reduces the stress and worries that children experience as a result of their parents' uncertain status, creating a more stable and nurturing atmosphere that promotes improved mental health and emotional stability. This stability also improves educational prospects because parents may work legally and earn greater wages, resulting in more resources and better academic performance for their children.


Immigration remains a fundamental aspect of the American experience, continually shaping the nation's identity and future. Addressing immigration issues requires a balanced approach that considers security, economic, humanitarian, and political factors.

The Trump administration implemented a series of stringent immigration policies, including the travel ban on several Muslim-majority countries, the construction of new border barriers, and the "zero tolerance" policy leading to family separations at the border.

The Biden administration on the other hand, has sought to reverse many of these policies, emphasizing a more humane approach. President Biden's policy of granting legal status to illegal spouses is a historic step that tackles the complicated issues that mixed-status families experience in the United States.

By offering a road to permanent residency and work authorization, the policy assures that undocumented spouses can contribute fully to the economy, access vital social services, and enjoy legal protections against exploitation.

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CDS Africa

We lead research, advocacy and initiatives to advance democracy and policies to bring about socio-economic development.

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