Haley, who pledges to “close” the border, is asked: What happens to the immigrants who are already here? | ET REALITY


“If they told you ‘catch and deport,’ what would you do with everyone who is here now?”

The phrase “catch and deport” refers to Ms. Haley’s campaign speech about the term “catch and release,” which generally refers to the long-standing practice of allowing people who have been screened and deemed low risk living in communities, rather than detention, while they wait for their immigration cases to go through the courts.

Former President Donald Trump made ending the practice central to his first campaign in the White House and frequently mocked it while in office. But his administration expanded it widely in 2019 before reducing it again, as it struggled to process a surge of families arriving at the country’s southern border from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. In 2020, Trump officials began turning away people seeking asylum at the border, leading to their expulsion without right on the grounds that they feared returning to their home country due to persecution or torture. The deportations were carried out amid the coronavirus pandemic, under a public health order called Title 42, which expired under President Biden in May.

As migration patterns shift and reach new highs around the world, the Biden administration has expanded legal pathways of entry for some migrants. Still, illegal border crossings continue to set records, straining cities’ support systems. Ms. Haley has said she would immediately deport those who enter illegally.

“Okay, of the six to seven million that have come since Biden did this, this is going to sound harsh, but they send them back. And the reason you give them back, the reason you give them back is because my parents came here legally. They set the time, they set the price. I take care of my parents. They live with us. They are 87 and 89 years old. There isn’t a time I’ve had dinner with my mom where she doesn’t ask me, ‘Are those people still crossing the border?’ And the reason is that they are offended by what is happening at the border. And when you allow those six or seven million to come in, all those people who have done it the right way, you are allowing them to jump the line.”

As governor of South Carolina, Haley signed some of the nation’s toughest immigration laws in 2011, including measures requiring police officers check the immigration status of some people. But he tended to refrain from using fire and brimstone in his language on the subject, and tended to describe immigrants and refugees as part of the fabric of American society.

Now on the campaign trail, Haley and her main rivals have spent months trying to outdo each other with extreme proposals and rhetoric on immigration, while the party’s primary base has shifted radically to the right on the issue. Haley, the daughter of Indian-American immigrants, in particular has leveraged her background to significant effect as a messenger of hardline proposals.

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