As he rallies support for his reelection, President Donald Trump is closer than ever to delivering on his promise for a U.S. with taller walls, tighter immigration laws and fewer foreigners entering. The president has hardened the nation’s immigration system into an obstacle course of physical and bureaucratic barriers, causing illegal border crossings to plummet and legal immigration to slump, reports the Washington Post. The number of refugee admissions fell to the lowest level on record last year. This year the administration set the refugee cap even lower, reserving just 18,000 spots for people who are fleeing persecution across the globe. The administration is blocking asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border and flying them instead to Guatemala or sending them back into Mexico.
Other visitors are being turned back or staying away entirely: foreign students and tourists are coming in fewer numbers, and green cards issued abroad since 2016 have dropped 25 percent. “It’s no secret that the administration is consciously trying to close America to immigrants,” said Stanford Prof. Lucas Guttentag. “Trump policies and practices have attacked virtually every facet of the immigration system: effectively dismantling asylum protections at our southern border, imposing wealth restrictions on immigrants who are spouses and family members of citizens, burdening businesses that legitimately depend on skilled immigrant workers and threatening mass deportations regardless of how long or deep a person’s ties to country and community are.” Trump’s 2021 budget proposal would increase deportations by adding thousands of new immigration agents and expanding jail capacity.