In Mike Pence, GOP Presidential candidate Donald Trump has found a kindred spirit in his crusade against immigrants. Trump’s get tough approach to immigration has been no secret and reports of the GOP’s official 2016 platform note that it includes support for a border wall and proposing mandatory prison sentences for deportees who return to the United States. They also change the term “illegal immigrants” to “illegal aliens” in the platform itself—a highly-offensive term.
Like Trump, Pence takes a harsh, enforcement-centric approach to immigration. Pence’s record shows he used his time in Congress and as the Governor of Indiana to pursue extreme and punitive immigration policies earning him a 100 percent approval rating by the anti-immigration group, Federation for American Immigration Reform.
During his term in the U.S. House of Representatives, Pence voted yes on H.R. 3722, a 2004 bill that would “prohibit Federal reimbursement of hospital-provided emergency and certain transportation services to undocumented aliens” and allow hospitals to refuse care to undocumented individuals if they could be sent to hospitals in their home country.
In 2006, he unveiled a plan which he described as “no amnesty immigration reform” which sought to seal the U.S. border with Mexico, set up a limited guest-worker program, force all undocumented immigrants to “self-deport” and apply for reentry from their home countries, and end birthright citizenship.
In 2007, he co-sponsored an English-only bill.
Later, as governor of Indiana, Pence ordered state agencies not to assist in the resettlement of Syrian refugees, which resulted in a lawsuit being brought against him by the American Civil Liberties Union which Pence lost.
As governor, Pence also signed Indiana on to the Texas lawsuit challenging expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA). He then praised the non-decision issued by the Supreme Court on expanded DACA and DAPA, which leaves 4-5 million undocumented immigrants in limbo as the challenge to the initiatives continue in a lower court.
While Pence’s so-called “reform” bill in Congress went nowhere and his efforts to shut out refugees also failed miserably, his past immigration policy positions demonstrate an impractical and uncharitable approach toward immigrants and refugees, but one that seems to align well with candidate Trump’s.
Despite the fact that anti-immigrant policies imperil any campaign that seeks the Latino and immigrant vote, and that past presidential campaigns with a strong anti-immigrant platform have failed, Trump seems committed to his impractical and punishing ways towards immigration policy. In this regard, Mike Pence makes the running perfect mate.
Wendy Feliz is the Director of Communications at the American Immigration Council.