Brett Samuels, The Hill, August 18, 2020
President Trump on Tuesday put immigration front and center in a campaign speech in Arizona, taking aim at presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s agenda and betting that his intense focus on the issue will help him carry a key swing state in November.
“Biden’s plan is the most radical, extreme, reckless, dangerous and deadly immigration plan ever put forward by a major-party candidate. It must be defeated and it will be defeated on Nov. 3,” Trump told a raucous crowd of supporters in Yuma.
The president touted his own administration’s achievements in rounding up migrants and installing additional security measures at the border, rattling off statistics on border crossings and arrests. He argued that his intense focus on criminal activity and crackdown on the flow of immigrants into the U.S. have improved safety and the economy.
Biden’s agenda does call for reversing the Trump administration’s public charge rule and rescinding the president’s travel ban that affects several majority-Muslim countries. The former vice president also supports increasing the number of refugees accepted into the U.S. and expanding visa protections for certain groups.
Trump’s unwavering stance on restricting illegal and legal immigration has been a calling card of his since he launched his campaign in 2015 with a pledge to build a wall along the southern border and get Mexico to pay for it. Mexico has not paid for the wall, and Trump has instead relied on a national emergency declaration and military funds to construct the barrier or replace existing sections.
The president has otherwise followed through in instituting a rigid immigration agenda, appeasing his base of supporters.
Arizona will go a long way in determining the outcome of the presidential election and control of the Senate in November. A RealClearPolitics average of polls shows Trump, who won the state in 2016, trailing Biden by 2 percentage points. Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) trails Democrat Mark Kelly by roughly 7 percentage points.