Children torn from their parents, refugees turned away, tear gas fired on asylum-seekers, and a president who says he’s willing to shut down the government to make good on his promise for a border wall. In a breathless 2018, they were just a handful of headlines on immigration, one of the year’s most dominant issues.
Combined with a relentless stream of administrative memos and changes in regulation and enforcement, it represented a government bombardment on virtually every type of immigration — a bold follow-up to the opening salvo of President Donald Trump’s first year in office.
For those who champion Trump and believe that cracking down on immigration translates to better lives for Americans, it has been a year of fulfillment of campaign promises.
For those who’ve watched in horror, it harkened back to other points in the country’s history, when fear of new arrivals led the U.S. to refuse entry to various groups and when open discrimination of certain ethnicities prevailed.
“This is our generation’s sort of existential moment,” said Frank Sharry, head of pro-immigration group America’s Voice. “Are we going to continue to be a nation that practices ‘e pluribus unum’ and welcomes people from around the world to make this country better? Or are we going to shut the door?”
Throughout 2018, the answer has largely been the latter.