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11-03-2012, 08:30 AM #1
Obama vs. Romney 101: 5 ways they differ on immigration
Obama vs. Romney 101: 5 ways they differ on immigration
By Daniel B. Wood, Staff writer
posted September 7, 2012 at 12:17 pm EDT
Immigration could be a pivotal issue in the 2012 presidential race, and Barack Obama knows it. Mr. Obama's positions on immigration issues, such as a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and greater discretion in deportations, are in line with those favored by most Latino voters. Republican challenger Mitt Romney has tried to cast himself somewhere between the staunchest anti-illegal immigration activists of his party and Obama.
Obama is seeking to press his advantage among Latino voters, particularly in swing states like Colorado and Nevada, which could prove crucial in November. Polls suggest that more than 70 percent of Latinos favor Obama. Here are the two candidates' positions on comprehensive immigration reform, the DREAM Act, deportations, the border fence, and employer sanctions.
1.Comprehensive immigration reform
President Obama arrives to deliver remarks on immigration reform at Chamizal National Memorial Park in El Paso, Texas, May 10, 2011.
Obama says his support for comprehensive immigration reform has been limited only by Congress's inability to put a bill on his desk. In 2007, then-Senator Obama voted for the comprehensive immigration bill backed by Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts, Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, and President Bush. The bill never reached the floor for a vote, but it would have provided a path to citizenship for 12 million to 20 million illegal immigrants, established a two-year guest-worker program, added 20,000 border patrol agents, built 370 miles of border fencing, and revamped the federal employment-verification system.
In 2010, after Arizona passed its anti-illegal immigration Senate Bill 1070, Obama made halting efforts to put immigration reform atop his agenda, proposing solutions in a July 1 speech that echoed the failed Kennedy-McCain bill. But he was unable to make significant headway.
The lack of immigration reform, he told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) on June 22, "has given rise to a patchwork of state laws that cause more problems than they solve and are often doing more harm than good."
Former Massachusetts Governor Romney has said he is similarly committed to federal immigration reform. But he has laid more stress on enforcement. "That means both preventing illegal border crossings and making it harder to illegally overstay a visa," he said in an address to NALEO on June 21. "We should field enough border patrol agents, complete a high-tech fence, and implement an improved exit-verification system."
Romney has sought to put immigration reform in a economic context, suggesting changes designed to help American business. "I'll work with states and employers to update our temporary-worker visa program so that it meets our economic needs," he told NALEO. "And if you get an advanced degree here, we want you to stay here. So I'd staple a green card to the diploma of someone who gets an advanced degree in America."
He also vows to cut bureaucratic red tape to allow families to stay together. But he does not favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in America.
This puts him at odds with many Latino voters, and Obama sees an opening. “The immigration issue could be pivotal in the presidential race,” says Steven Schier, a political scientist at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. “A strong Latino turnout is critical to Obama's victory, and a successful exploitation of the immigration issue by his campaign could ensure a second term in the White House.”
Itzel Guillen (l.) and Lucero Maganda, seen here in San Diego on Aug. 15, are among those hoping to benefit from the Obama administration’s executive order.
The DREAM Act has been seen as an interim step that Congress could take before is politically able to take up comprehensive immigration reform. First introduced in 2001, it stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors, and it would provide conditional permanent residency to illegal residents who were brought into the US as minors, are pursuing an education or military service, have lived in the country continuously for at least five years, and who have not run afoul of the law.
The DREAM Act was a part of the 2007 bill that Obama supported, and as president, he has continued to support the DREAM Act on its own. Indeed, with the DREAM Act stalled – most recently, Senate Republicans blocked it in 2010 – Obama took action into his own hands. He issued an executive order on June 15 calling on immigration officials to grant deportation deferrals to the same illegal immigrants who fit the profile laid out by the DREAM Act. While not a path to citizenship, the executive order allows DREAMers to apply for work permits, driver's licenses, and college tuition help.
Romney has said he would veto the DREAM Act, but his position appears to be evolving. He told NALEO that he would replace Obama's executive order with his version of comprehensive immigration reform and offered a path to legal residency – though not citizenship – to one slice of the DREAMers: illegal immigrants in the armed forces.
"As president, I will stand for a path to legal status for anyone who is willing to stand up and defend this great nation through military service," he said at the NALEO annual meeting.
This offering of legal status – instead of citizenship – could be a hallmark of any broader Romney immigration reform, says Robert Gittelson, president and co-founder of Conservatives for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
“A particular distinction between these campaigns might be in terms of a pathway to citizenship versus a pathway to simple legal status," he says. "I suspect that the governor might be more generous to a larger block of undocumented immigrants than most people think, but it is possible that he would offer the more moderate position of offering simple legal status, arguing that policy would be strict, or resolute in terms of the rule of law, while also embracing a fair or compassionate conservatism."
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks at the NALEO conference in Orlando, Fla., on June 21.
Obama's "DREAM Act lite" executive order in June was only the latest and most dramatic attempt by the White House to limit deportations. Previously, Obama had directed immigration agents to use discretion in deportation proceedings – focusing only on hardened criminals.
But there is little evidence to suggest that immigration agents have listened. The Obama administration has deported more illegal immigrants in its first three years – 1.1 million – than any administration since the 1950s. Moreover, independent analysts combing through federal data have found it impossible to confirm whether the "criminals" the administration says it is deporting actually are actually criminals.
In a Republican presidential debate in January, Romney suggested that "self-deportation" is the ultimate solution. He described that as the point when "people decide they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here. We’re not going to round them up.”
He has since departed from that terminology, but his speech at NALEO spoke of similar principles: tightening oversight of businesses and the border to make illegal immigration in the US a less-appealing option.
Mr. Gittleson sees this as a fundamental tenet of a potential Romney immigration strategy: greater emphasis on border security and the deportation of undocumented individuals, “probably with less discretion in terms of prioritizing criminal aliens."
A US border vehicle drives along the US and Mexico border fence in Naco, Ariz., in 2011.
In a speech on immigration reform in El Paso, Texas, in 2011, Obama said the building of a border fence is "now basically complete" – an assertion that Politifact found "barely true," since only 36 of the 649 miles of fencing was the robust, double-layer type that Congress had initially requested.
Moreover, in January 2011, the Obama administration ended a Bush-era border fence project that cost $1 billion and was supposed to bring high-tech sensors and cameras to the border. The decision ended "a long-troubled program that spent far too much of the taxpayers' money for the results it delivered," said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I) of Connecticut at the time, according to CBS News.
Romney is in favor of building a stronger border fence, pointing to a February GAO report that found that that just 44 percent of the 2,000-mile-long border is under operational control, and just 15 percent is totally controlled. His website holds that he will “complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security" and “will ensure that we have the officers on the ground we need to gain control of the border.”
Obama has ridiculed such suggestions about a border fence, saying in El Paso: “Maybe they’ll need a moat. Maybe they’ll want alligators in the moat.”
5.Sanctions for hiring illegal immigrants
Federal immigration agents conduct a raid at Action Rags USA, a second-hand clothing warehouse in Houston, on June 25, 2008.
(Julio Cortez/Houston Chronicle/AP/File)
In another example of how Obama has shifted the executive branch's policies on illegal immigration, the administration is increasingly targeting employers of illegal immigrants – rather than the illegal-immigrant employees – with tough charges and fines, according to a New York Times report in May. In doing so, the report said, the administration has largely forgone high-publicity factory raids in favor of longer-term investigations.
For his part, Romney lauds Arizona's use of the E-Verify federal database. Currently, all federal contractors have to use E-Verify to confirm that an employee is in the country legally. In 2007, Arizona passed a law requiring all companies in the state check their employment rosters through E-Verify. A first offense brings a suspension of a business license; a second brings its revocation. A study by the Public Policy Institute of California found that E-Verify was responsible for 17 percent of Arizona's working-age illegal immigrants – or, about 92,000 undocumented workers – leaving the workforce in one year.
"I think you see a model here in Arizona," Romney said in a February Republican presidential debate.
Obama's take on E-Verify is more nuanced. "E-Verify can be an important enforcement tool," he said at a press conference in June 2011. But he also said he shares the concerns of civil liberties groups, who contend the database contains too many errors. "I don't want is a situation in which employers are forced to set up a system that they can't be certain works," Obama said. "And we don't want to expose employers to the risk where they end up rejecting a qualified candidate for a job because the list says that that person is an illegal immigrant, and it turns out that the person isn't an illegal immigrant."
A 2011 report for the federal General Accountability Office found that E-Verify correctly confirmed the work eligibility of 97.4 percent of employees checked in fiscal year 2009. But it acknowledged that identity thieves can game the system. E-Verify might be clearing as many as half of illegal immigrants run through the system, because they are using the valid work credentials of someone else.
Obama vs. Romney 101: 5 ways they differ on immigration - CSMonitor.com
Last edited by HAPPY2BME; 11-03-2012 at 01:18 PM.U.S. Constitution - Article IV, Section 4: GUARANTEES AMERICA FROM INVASION!
11-03-2012, 12:05 PM #2He also vows to cut bureaucratic red tape to allow families to stay together. But he does not favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in America.
11-03-2012, 12:08 PM #3
Please put the publication name near the top of the article near the date and author please.
11-03-2012, 04:14 PM #4
Americans first in this magnificent country
American jobs for American workers
Fair trade, not free trade