As the U.S. presidential election is this week, immigration lawyer Gail Seeram helps undecided voters to see where each candidate stands on immigration. Through their speeches and presidential debates, each candidate briefly describes their position on immigration enforcement and immigration reform. Presidential Obama has an established record of being tough on immigration enforcement as we have seen record deportation from the U.S. under his administration. Also, President Obama has acted through executive order to grant status to immigrant widows of U.S. citizens and grant young immigrants deferred action and temporary work authorization. Governor Romney does not have a clear record on immigration since he has not initiated any immigration policies as governor and has not voted on any immigration matters. For those who are naturalized U.S. citizens, immigration should be an important voting issue for you since you were once considered an immigrant in this country and am sure have family and friends who are still struggling as illegal or legal immigrants in the U.S. For me, the clear choice for immigration reform is President Obama but you decide based on the following statements from each candidate.
President Obama has been quoted as follows:
Des Moines Register, October 23, 2012 “We need to get immigration reform done, and I’m fully committed to doing that.” “The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform.”
Univision Forum, September 19, 2012 “I am happy to take responsibility for the fact that we didn’t get [comprehensive immigration reform] done. But I did not make a promise that I would get everything done 100% when I was elected as president. What I promised was that I would work every single day as hard as I can to make sure that everybody in this country regardless of who they are, what they look like, where they come from, that they would have a fair shot at the American dream. And that promise I’ve kept.”
Univision-Enrique Acevedo Interview, April 13, 2012 “I can promise that I will try to do it [immigration reform] in the first year of my second term. I want to try this year. The challenge we’ve got on immigration reform is very simple. I’ve got a majority of Democrats who are prepared to vote for it, and I’ve got no Republicans who are prepared to vote for it. It’s worse than that. We now have a Republican nominee who said that the Arizona laws are a model for the country; that — and these are laws that potentially would allow someone to be stopped and picked up and asked where their citizenship papers are based on an assumption.”
Governor Romney has been quoted as follows:
CNN GOP candidate debate, January 16, 2012 “Those who come into the country legally would be given an identification card, and if employers hire someone without a card, then those employers would be severely sanctioned. If you do that, people who have come here illegally won’t be able to find work. And over time, those people would tend to leave the country, or self-deport. I don’t think anyone is interested in going around and rounding up people around the country and deporting 11 million illegal immigrants into America. Let’s focus our attention on how to make legal immigration work and stop illegal immigration.”
GOP candidate debate (Reagan Library), January 30, 2008 “My plan is this, which is for those that have come here illegally and are here illegally today, no amnesty. Now, how do people return home? Under the ideal setting, at least in my view, you say to those who have just come in recently, we’re going to send you back home immediately, we’re not going to let you stay here. You just go back home. For those that have been here, let’s say, five years, and have kids in school, you allow kids to complete the school year, you allow people to make their arrangements, and allow them to return back home. Those that have been here a long time, with kids that have responsibilities here and so forth, you let stay enough time to organize their affairs and go home.”
GOP candidate debate, January 5, 2006 “I disagree fundamentally with the idea that the 12 million people who’ve come here illegally should all be allowed to remain in the US permanently, potentially some of them applying for citizenship and becoming citizens, others just staying permanently. That is a form of amnesty, and that it’s not appropriate. We’re a nation of laws. Our liberty is based upon being a nation of laws. I would welcome those people to get in line with everybody else who wants to come here permanently. But there should be no special pathway to permanent residency or citizenship for those that have come here illegally. I welcome legal immigration. Of course we need to secure the border. We need to have an employment verification system with a card to identify who’s here legally and not legally. We need to have employer sanctions that hire people that then don’t have the legal card. But with regards to those already here, it is simply not right and unfair to say they’re going to all get to stay.”
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