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Immigration spotlight: Trump's border wall vs. Haley's reform agenda

President Trump, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, arrives at the United Nations, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017.
President Trump, accompanied by U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley, arrives at the United Nations, Monday, Sept. 18, 2017.

As the presidential primary season continues across the country, the immigration policies of Republican candidates, former President Donald Trump and former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley, are hot topics.

The GOP frontrunner, who has made immigration a central focus of his political career, continues to advocate for aggressive measures to curb both illegal immigration and the influx of asylum seekers at the U.S. southern border.

Throughout his presidency, Trump championed the construction of a border wall and implemented controversial policies such as family separations. His platform promises the implementation of the biggest deportation and border arrest programs in American history, reflecting his hardline stance on immigration enforcement.

More: President Biden blames Trump for bipartisan immigration bill struggling to pass Congress

Nikki Haley supporters at a rally in Troy, Michigan, February 25, 2024.
Nikki Haley supporters at a rally in Troy, Michigan, February 25, 2024.

In contrast, Nikki Haley has outlined a multifaceted approach to immigration reform, which includes addressing both illegal immigration and the status of undocumented immigrants already residing in the United States. Haley has pledged to reinstate the Trump administration's "Remain in Mexico" policy to manage asylum seekers and to defund sanctuary cities that do not enforce specific immigration laws.

Additionally, Haley, the daughter of Indian immigrants, has emphasized improving legal immigration pathways based on merit and economic need.

Trump's focus on strict enforcement measures and border security aligns with his past actions as president. At the same time, Haley's proposals suggest an approach that seeks to balance enforcement with efforts to reform legal immigration processes and address the status of undocumented immigrants already in the country.

More: Nikki Haley says Congress is 'lying to the American people' as they fail to pass border, aid deals

Jeremy Yurow is a politics reporting fellow based in Hawaii for the USA TODAY Network. You can reach him at JYurow@gannett.com or on X @JeremyYurow

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Trump's hardline immigration vs. Haley's reform approach