Mike Pence

2020 Republican Incumbent Vice President of the United States

Mike Pence has been a faithful member of the Trump administration, showing little daylight between himself and the president on matters of policy, including immigration. While Pence’s affirmation of the administration’s most controversial policies — including the Muslim-ban and family separations — may seem like a function of his office, the vice president has his own hawkish history on immigration that predates Trump’s entrance into presidential politics.

In 2006, while serving as a U.S. congressman from Indiana (2001–13), Pence released The Pence Plan: No Amnesty Immigration Reform. As the name implies, the bill would have prevented a pathway to citizenship for the undocumented population in the U.S., while increasing border security and penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers.

In 2009, Pence publicly stated his opposition to birthright citizenship and co-sponsored a bill that would have limited citizenship to children born to at least one parent who is either a citizen, an authorized immigrant living permanently in the U.S., or a non-citizen on active duty in the Armed Forces.

In 2010, Pence voted against the DREAM Act and in that same year praised Arizona S.B. 1070, which required local law enforcement to determine a person’s immigration status during any lawful detention or arrest, and which was later struck down by the Supreme Court of the United States. At the time, Pence said the bill intended to “restore order in communities.”

As governor of Indiana (2013–17), Pence tried to block Syrian refugees from settling in his state. Pence rationalized his ban by claiming terrorists were posing as Syrian asylum-seekers, but a federal appeals court overruled the action, calling it “discrimination on the basis of nationality.”

Pence’s views on immigration have been welcome in the Trump administration, on behalf of which he has appeared in front of television cameras praising ICE officers as “American heroes,” defending conditions at migrant detention centers, and scolding leaders of Northern Triangle countries for not doing enough to curb migration to the U.S.



  • Border Security

    Pence supports increased funding for more border security, including hiring more Border Patrol agents and customs officers and implementing new technology for screening at ports of entry.

  • Border Wall

    Pence supports the construction of barriers, as well as the president’s use of emergency and military funding to do so.

  • Detention

    Pence has called for more funding for additional beds in detention centers to house more migrants.

  • Immigration Courts

    Pence supports additional funding to hire more judges to provide relief for the backlog of cases.

  • Undocumented Population

    Pence does not support a pathway to citizenship for the undocumeted immigrants who are already in the country.

  • ICE

    Pence supports increased funding to hire more officers.

  • DACA

    As a congressman, Pence voted against the DREAM Act in 2010 and does not support continued protections for DACA enrollees.

  • Asylum

    Pence supports Migration Protection Protocols (MPP), the Trump administration’s agreement with the Mexican government to require asylum seekers to stay in Mexico, or wherever their home country may be, while completing the application process.

  • Central America Policy

    Pence supports the suspension of federal funding to the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. He is open to restoring aid if the Central American countries strengthen their own borders. “If you do more,” he said to the region’s leaders in 2018, “we’ll do more.”

  • Visas

    In the Pence Plan of 2006, Pence proposed requiring English proficiency for guest workers renewing visas, and wanted to give the private sector more authority in making determinations about caps on guest-worker visas.