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US Immigration Policy: The Human and Economic Costs

AP Photo/Marco Ugarte

Today, a conversation about US immigration policy and its human and economic impacts.

President Donald Trump’s consistently anti-immigrant rhetoric and his efforts to fund and build a massive wall on the southern US border have raised the temperature in the national debate over immigration.

The president has imposed steep reductions in the numbers of immigrants admitted to apply for citizenship, and sharply curtailed US approval of refugee asylum requests — even as the number of people seeking entry to the US has risen.  Families have been forced to wait for months, sometimes years, for their cases to be heard in immigration court, and since last year, many have been sent to wait for their hearings in dangerous Mexican border towns.  Tens of thousands of refugees fleeing war, violence and poverty have been turned away.  The agencies charged with carrying out immigration policy — Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Homeland Security, report stepped-up border apprehensions, undocumented immigrant arrests and deportations.

To help us understand the impact of these changes in US immigration policy, Tom talks today with four people who’ve been on the front lines of America’s immigration conflict...

Ruben Chandrasekar is the director of the Baltimore office of the International Rescue Committee, which provides support and relief for refugees.

Gabriela Roque (ROH-keh) is the lead Baltimore organizer for the migrant-rights advocacy group, CASA of Maryland.  They join me here in Studio A…   

And Sonia Nazario is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Enrique’s Journey, a contributing opinion writer to the New York Times, and a board member of Kids in Need of Defense (KIND). She joins us on the line from NPR West in Culver City, California.

And later in the hour, we’re joined on the phone by Aubrey Vincent.  She’s the manager of Lindy’s Seafood in Woolford, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore.  Her company annually hires seasonal workers  to help them process and package blue crabs. 

Host, Midday (M-F 12:00-1:00)
Rob is Midday's senior producer.