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Immigration Was A Hot Button Issue. Now What?


Last night, as the election results poured in, NPR's Sarah McCammon was at Donald Trump's victory party, talking to the supporters about the impact of the Republican nominee's victory. Trump supporter Robin Hall (ph) said she expected Trump would work for the many voters who opposed him.


ROBIN HALL: I do think that all the minorities have been disenfranchised in the past. I think that they really have been. Every four years, they come around, they tell them - but nothing ever gets done for them. So I really feel like he - he will listen, and he will turn this country around and really look at their best interests.

MONTAGNE: Trump's stand on immigration is one of the areas that was a point of concern for many minority voters. And for a closer look at what a Trump immigration policy could look like, we're joined now by NPR's John Burnett in San Antonio. And, John, Trump's two signature issues are the wall and deporting 11 million undocumented aliens, as he would call them. What can you expect?

JOHN BURNETT, BYLINE: Well, that is the question. I mean, this was one of the big, emotional issues that Trump hit with his crowd again and again. Could we expect an earthquake in immigration policy? Certainly - changing from eight years under Barack Obama and even under the prior eight years under George W. Bush. I'm sure the immigration hawks are delirious this morning.

Trump had some of the harshest immigration proposals, really, in modern politics. Speaking of the wall, you know, he had actually started to step back in the last two months on this, saying - you know, not talking as much about, you know, seriously continuously building a wall above ground, but saying, you know, where it was appropriate. You know, does he really think he can get Mexico to pay for this after the country has explicitly said, you know, we're not going to do it?


BURNETT: Deporting 11 million - I'm sure that there - unauthorized immigrants all over the country are just terrified this morning. He had - Trump has bragged about his deportation force, that he wants to to round up all of the unauthorized immigrants. And, of course, that would even require more reliance on private prisons, which the federal government thinks it might be stepping away from.

MONTAGNE: Well, we just have another second or two, but do you think a Congress that's Republican will help with all of this with Donald Trump?

BURNETT: Well, of course they will because now he has a unified government. And so they have said there cannot be comprehensive immigration reform without more border security. So now the issue is, what is that going to look like? Is he going to double the border - border patrol force? I mean, the implications are just profound in this area.

MONTAGNE: John, thanks very much. That's NPR's John Burnett in San Antonio. And with us in our studio this morning is NPR's economics correspondent John Ydstie, keeping an eye on the markets and how they've been reacting.

JOHN YDSTIE, BYLINE: Well, there's a dramatic reaction in Japan, a little less reaction in China and a little less in Europe. Now, it looks like the U.S. markets will open down about 2.5 percent. The markets are just concerned about what Donald Trump's economic policies might be. You can imagine managed healthcare companies could be hurt if they repeal Obamacare. Clean energy companies could be hurt if he backs out of the Paris climate deal. On the other hand, he's talked a lot about infrastructure building, and that could be good for the economy and growth.

MONTAGNE: That's NPR's John Ydstie. Thanks very much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

As NPR's Southwest correspondent based in Austin, Texas, John Burnett covers immigration, border affairs, Texas news and other national assignments. In 2018, 2019 and again in 2020, he won national Edward R. Murrow Awards from the Radio-Television News Directors Association for continuing coverage of the immigration beat. In 2020, Burnett along with other NPR journalists, were finalists for a duPont-Columbia Award for their coverage of the Trump Administration's Remain in Mexico program. In December 2018, Burnett was invited to participate in a workshop on Refugees, Immigration and Border Security in Western Europe, sponsored by the RIAS Berlin Commission.
John Ydstie has covered the economy, Wall Street, and the Federal Reserve at NPR for nearly three decades. Over the years, NPR has also employed Ydstie's reporting skills to cover major stories like the aftermath of Sept. 11, Hurricane Katrina, the Jack Abramoff lobbying scandal, and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. He was a lead reporter in NPR's coverage of the global financial crisis and the Great Recession, as well as the network's coverage of President Trump's economic policies. Ydstie has also been a guest host on the NPR news programs Morning Edition, All Things Considered, and Weekend Edition. Ydstie stepped back from full-time reporting in late 2018, but plans to continue to contribute to NPR through part-time assignments and work on special projects.
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