Immigration in the 2016 GOP Platform

On the first day of the GOP convention in Cleveland, the party released its official platform – a nonbinding document that serves as a guide for Republican policymaking at every level of government.

This year’s platform calls for an immigration system that serves the national interest of the United States, and contains strong stances on amnesty, interior enforcement, and border security.

While a more thorough analysis is forthcoming, FAIR has compiled sections of the platform that address immigration below.

The section “Immigration and the Rule of Law” in its entirety:

Our party is the natural home for those who come in search of freedom and justice. We welcome all to the Great Opportunity Party.

The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker. Our immigration system must protect American working families and their wages, for citizens and legal immigrants alike, in a way that will improve the economy. Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world. We are particularly grateful to the thousands of new legal immigrants, many of them not yet citizens, who are serving in the Armed Forces and among first responders. Their patriotism should encourage all to embrace the newcomers legally among us, assist their journey to full citizenship, and help their communities avoid isolation from the mainstream of society. We are also thankful for the many legal immigrants who continue to contribute to American society. To that end, we both encourage the preservation of heritage tongues and support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the advancement of immigrant communities and our nation as a whole.

America’s immigration policy must serve the national interest of the United States, and the interests of American workers must be protected over the claims of foreign nationals seeking the same jobs. With all our fellow citizens, we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws by a president who made himself superior to the will of the nation. We stand with the victims of his policies, especially the families of murdered innocents. Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally. We oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by breaking the law, have disadvantaged those who have obeyed it. The executive amnesties of 2012 and 2014 are a direct violation of federal law and usurp the powers of Congress as outlined in Article I of the Constitution. These unlawful amnesties must be immediately rescinded by a Republican president. In a time of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified individuals in this country poses grave risks to the safety and sovereignty of the United States. Our highest priority, therefore, must be to secure our borders and all ports of entry and to enforce our immigration laws.

That is why we support building a wall along our southern border and protecting all ports of entry. The border wall must cover the entirety of the southern border and must be sufficient to stop both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. We insist upon workplace enforcement of verification systems so that more jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program — an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees — must be made mandatory nationwide. We reaffirm our endorsement of the SAVE program — Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements — to ensure that public funds are not given to persons not legally present in this country.

We demand tough penalties against those who engage in identity theft, deal in fraudulent documents, and traffic in human beings. The Department of Homeland Security must use its authority to keep dangerous aliens off our streets and to expedite expulsion of criminal aliens. Gang membership should be a deportable offense. Any previously deported illegal alien who continues to show a lack of respect for our borders and rule of law must be penalized. This is why we support stiffer penalties, such as a mandatory minimum sentence of five years, for any illegal alien who illegally re-enters our nation after already having been deported.

Because “sanctuary cities” violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, they should not be eligible for federal funding. Using state licenses to reward people in the country illegally is an affront to the rule of law and must be halted. In light of both current needs and historic practice, we urge the reform of our guest worker programs to eliminate fraud, improve efficiency and ensure they serve the national interest.

In light of the alarming levels of unemployment and underemployment in this country, it is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year. The Supreme Court has correctly recognized that states have the constitutional authority to take steps to reduce illegal immigration. We condemn the Obama Administration’s lawsuits against states that are seeking to reinforce federal law. We support the right of the states to enact laws deterring illegal aliens from residing within their states.

From its beginning, our country has been a haven of refuge and asylum. That should continue — but with major changes. Asylum should be limited to cases of political, ethnic or religious persecution. As the Director of the FBI has noted, it is not possible to vet fully all potential refugees. To ensure our national security, refugees who cannot be carefully vetted cannot be admitted to the country, especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.

An excerpt from the section “Confronting the Dangers”:

While immigration is addressed in more detail elsewhere, we cannot ignore the reality that border security is a national security issue, and that our nation’s immigration and refugee policies are placing Americans at risk. To keep our people safe, we must secure our borders, enforce our immigration laws, and properly screen refugees and other immigrants entering from any country. In particular we must apply special scrutiny to those foreign nationals seeking to enter the United States from terror-sponsoring countries or from regions associated with Islamic terrorism. This was done successfully after September 11, 2001, under the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System, which should be renewed now.

An excerpt from the section “The Tenth Amendment: Federalism as the Foundation of Personal Liberty”:

The Constitution gives the federal government very few powers, and they are specifically enumerated; the states and the people retain authority over all unenumerated powers. In obedience to that principle, we condemn the current Administration’s unconstitutional expansion into areas beyond those specifically enumerated, including bullying of state and local governments in matters ranging from voter identification (ID) laws to immigration…We pledge to restore the proper balance and vertical separation of powers between the federal government and state governments — the governments closest to, and most reflective of, the American people.

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Content written by Federation for American Immigration Reform staff.


  1. avatar

    Making e-verify mandatory, backed up by interior enforcement, is a major step in controlling the border. Hold off on the wall; it would only impede the stampede of illegal aliens returning home.

  2. avatar

    Immigration law enforcement is vital to maintain our sovereign nation, provide national security and stability in our labor pool. I’m very glad to see a comprehensive plan for a return to immigration enforcement. In addition to robust protection of our borders, we need interior enforcement as well.

    Our immigration laws are not broken. The problem is that foreign nationals continue to break our immigration laws.

  3. avatar

    “Use of the E-verify system-an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees-must be made mandatory nationwide.”

    Absolutely. And it’s a big part of the answer to “we can’t deport 12 million people”. There’s no need to. With things like e-verify we make it harder to stay here. The continuing rewards proposed by amnesty advocates only attract more illegal entry and visa overstays. I have yet to hear Hillary say one word about what she will do to prevent future illegal immigration, just promises of more goodies, and refusal to enforce our laws.

    Of course, all the old standby cliches will be hauled out by those who, let’s face it, don’t want an e-verify system to begin with. They will say people will be denied jobs. Untrue, if a number comes back as a non match then the employee has time to straighten it out. No one can be denied a job for that reason alone. Anyone who has a legit number would have no problem proving it.

    We also hear about the great cost. Preposterous nonsense. SS numbers have to be submitted anyway when someone is hired. Just more false excuses.

    Hillary was crying crocodile tears the other day about Americans having to train their H1B visa replacements. She never said anything about cutting the number of those visas, which are being used to fire higher paid American workers. Next year, with Harry Reid retiring, the Senate Democratic leader will be Chuck Schumer, a leader of the “one time” 1986 amnesty and one of the biggest recipients of money from the high tech companies pushing for more visas.

    • avatar

      The Republican platform, at Trump’s insistence, specifically calls for something that Bernie Sanders campaigned for, restoration of the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, which was a reaction to the excesses of the 1920s. When Bill Clinton signed the repeal of that act in 1999, many people warned that it would lead to the big bank losses that happened in the late 2000s. Essentially it let big business act like riverboat gamblers while the taxpayers picked up the losses. Hillary does not support returning to Glass-Steagall.

      • avatar

        I also am impressed that Trump wants to restore the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933. Amazing that it was a Democrat, Bill Clinton who signed the repeal and now Hillary does not support returning to it. The Democratic Party has certainly changed.

        • avatar

          restore Glass-Steagall Act of 1933!!! We need to put the citizens that have fought and died for this country first in every way….We need to bring in the persons that are trying to get here the legal route. Do not reward persons that will not play by the rules. In sports we learn that the rules are the understanding of the game. Why let millions be here because they have not respect for our laws. We are dumbing down our children and the whole country with this illegal migrants people. Persons that will respect pour values should get the benefits our country has to give!! We are trying to make and trust people that do not have our values or intend to ever obey our laws.

  4. avatar
    Juliedavisraley on

    Thank you. THIS IS WHAT Texas needs to get our disadvantaged to get hired in entry level jobs now held by illegals who will work for less and get paid in cash, so the money goes to Mexico and the social security fund gets people who have been here do not have benefits.. when they are elderly.