Transitions are always difficult. Eight years ago when President Obama came into office, many immigration advocates had an abundance of hope. Obama had campaigned with very immigrant-friendly rhetoric and expectations were high. Those hopes quickly turned to frustration as, in his first year in office, deportations increased. Although in 2012 Obama protected some from deportation through a deferred action program, his time in office was a decidedly mixed bag for immigrants.
Now, we face another transition. President-elect Donald Trump ran on a starkly anti-immigrant platform, promising to build a “great wall” and deport millions of immigrants. During the campaign, Trump blamed immigrants for rising crime rates (even though crime rates nationwide have fallen and immigrants, in fact, commit crimes at lower rates than their U.S.-citizen counterparts). At various points, Trump called for a ban on Muslim immigrants or a requirement that they register with the government. It remains to be seen whether or how a Trump administration will carry out any of these policies.