Comparing Party Platforms

A close examination of each Party’s most recent Platform (2016) reveals its core beliefs and could provide a powerful indication of how that Party’s nominee will vote.

For your convenience, we have broken the lengthy party platforms into digestible portions based on topic and placed them side-by-side for comparison.


Democratic Party Platform

The Democratic Platform has an overarching category addressing immigration: Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities (p. 13-21).
Democrats believe that everyone deserves the chance to live up to his or her God-given potential. We know that there are barriers standing in the way of that goal, from the enduring scourge of systemic racism to our deeply broken immigration system to discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity—and we are committed to facing those problems and fixing them. Being stronger together means reaching communities that have been left out and left behind for too long, from coal country to Indian Country to neighborhoods held back by multigenerational poverty. In America, we do not tear each other down—we lift each other up.
Fixing our Broken Immigration System (p. 15)
. . .Democrats believe immigration is not just a problem to be solved, it is a defining aspect of the American character and our shared history.

The Democratic Party supports legal immigration. . . People should come to the United States with visas and not through smugglers. Yet, we recognize that the current immigration system is broken.

More than 11 million people are living in the shadows. . . immigration bureaucracy is full of backlogs that result in U.S. citizens waiting for decades. . . green card holders waiting for years. . . The current quota system discriminates. . . and needs to be reformed. . . questions about our detention and deportation policies that must be addressed.

Democrats believe we need to urgently fix our broken immigration system. . . and create a path to citizenship for law-abiding families who are here. . . end the forced and prolonged expulsion from the country that these immigrants endure when trying to adjust their status.

We must fix family backlogs and defend against those who would exclude or eliminate legal immigration avenues and denigrate immigrants. . .

. . .we will defend and implement President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans executive actions to help DREAMers, parents of citizens, and lawful permanent residents avoid deportation. We will build on these actions to provide relief for others, such as parents of DREAMers. . .

We believe immigration enforcement. . . should prioritize those who pose a threat to the safety of our communities. . . We will end raids and roundups of children and families. . . We disfavor deportations of immigrants who served in our armed forces, and we want to create a faster path for such veterans to citizenship.

We should ensure due process for those fleeing violence in Central America and work. . . to address the root causes. . . we should guarantee government-funded counsel for unaccompanied children. . .

We will promote best practices among local law enforcement. . . to ensure that they maintain and build trust between local law enforcement and the communities they serve. We will. . . make sure that there are no abuses and no arbitrary deportation programs. . . we will expand opportunities for DREAMers to serve in the military and to then receive expedited pathways to citizenship.

We will fight to end federal, state, and municipal contracts with for-profit private prisons and private detention centers. . . end family detention. . .

We reject attempts to impose a religious test to bar immigrants or refugees from entering the United States. . .

This section was shortened from 935 to 439 words. For full text, see page 15 of the Full 2016 Democratic Party Platform.

Republican Party Platform

The Republican Platform has an overarching category addressing immigration: Government Reform (p. 23-30).
Immigration and the Rule of Law (p. 25)
. . .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. . .
We are particularly grateful to the thousands of new legal immigrants. . . 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. . . 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. . . we have watched, in anger and disgust, the mocking of our immigration laws. . . Illegal immigration endangers everyone, exploits the taxpayers, and insults all who aspire to enter America legally. We oppose any form of amnesty. . . The executive amnesties of 2012 and 2014. . . must be immediately rescinded. . . 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. . . We insist upon workplace enforcement of verification systems. . . reaffirm our endorsement of the SAVE program. . . 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. . .
“sanctuary cities” . . .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.
. . .we urge the reform of our guest worker programs to eliminate fraud, improve efficiency and ensure they serve the national interest. . . it is indefensible to continue offering lawful permanent residence to more than one million foreign nationals every year. . . We support the right of the states to enact laws deterring illegal aliens from residing within their states.
. . .Asylum should be limited to cases of political, ethnic or religious persecution. . . refugees who cannot be carefully vetted cannot be admitted to the country, especially those whose homelands have been the breeding grounds for terrorism.

This section was shortened from 872 to 525 words. For full text, see page 25 of the Full 2016 Republican Party Platform.