Matthew Kolken quoted in Business INSIDERPublished: Nov 27, 2018
Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney based in Buffalo, New York, said the "biggest shift" between Obama and Trump on immigration is in their rhetoric.
"The Trump administration wants everyone to know that he's harsh on immigrants," Kolken told INSIDER. "Obama was the exact opposite. His rhetoric was very lofty, and favorable to immigration reform."
But children still ended up in detention centers under Obama, Kolken said, and "harsh measures" were used at the Southern border.
"Is the Trump administration in practice worse than Obama? Yes, but we're not talking about night and day, it's shades of grey," Kolken said. "The bottom line is that Trump is bad on immigration and Obama was bad. Neither one of them have done any favors to immigrant communities."
Kolken said Obama's dubious immigration practices were more under the radar because he wasn't using the same "racist and xenophobic rhetoric" as Trump.
Obama "always said the right thing and Trump can't ever say the right thing," Kolken added.
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