Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Two Major Candidates on Immigration

Because the topic of this conversation is limited to Obama and Romney I will refrain from injecting my candidate of choice Gary Johnson into the conversation.

Let's take a look at each candidate's policy positions on immigration to decide which candidate has a better platform.

From Obama's website (and incidentally, I had to search the website for Obama's immigration platform because it is not immediately listed on the important issues tab and took some hunting to find it - striking since Obama did claim that his failures on immigration are his biggest disappointment):
Since the beginning of his time in office, President Obama has worked to build a consensus for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform. He plans to continue his efforts to work with Congress to pass a bipartisan immigration reform, and has promised to make it a priority of his second term as president. <-Overstates his actual efforts. 
The Obama Administration is focusing immigration enforcement efforts on those who endanger our communities, and is de-emphasizing low-priority cases like students, veterans, seniors, and military families<- Not happening in practice 
The President understands the challenges that immigrants face. That’s why he proposed a new rule to keep families together by allowing undocumented spouses and children of U.S. citizens to stay in the country while they begin the legal immigration process. <-There is no new "rule" as Obama declined to sign an executive order instead relying on a discretionary policy memorandum.
Almost four years later and we still have ZERO specifics on what comprehensive immigration reform would look like under Obama.  There is no plan, no framework, no bullet points, no nothing.

Anyone else remember what Rahm Emanuel said to Juan Salgado, board chairman of the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights: "There is no way this [immigration reform] legislation is happening in the Democratic House, in the Democratic Senate, in the Democratic presidency, in the first term."

He wasn't kidding.

As for the future, the leading reform voice in Congress, Luis Gutierrez, recently stated that he’s received no promises from the White House that Obama would move quickly on immigration reform if reelected in November.

Maybe the Democrats are waiting for another lame duck session before taking the issue up again.

Romney, on the other hand, has indicated that he intends to push for reform prior to the expiration of the two year DACA grace period, and he has given specifics for what reform will look like.

From Mitt Romney's website:
Grow Legal Immigration To Grow Our Economy 
Attract More Highly Skilled Immigrants:
To ensure that America continues to lead the world in innovation and economic dynamism, a Romney administration would press for an immigration policy designed to maximize America’s economic potential. Foreign-born residents with advanced degrees start companies, create jobs, and drive innovation at a high rate. 
While lawful immigrants comprise about 8 percent of the population, immigrants start 16 percent of our top-performing, high-technology companies, hold the position of CEO or lead engineer in 25 percent of high-tech firms, and produce over 25 percent of all patent applications filed from the United States.
The United States is projected to face a shortage of 230,000 science and technology workers by 2018.  At the same time, we have set the caps on high-skill visas so low that, for some countries, an entire year’s quota has been filled in an hour.  Mitt Romney will ask Congress to raise the caps on visas for highly skilled immigrants. 
Many country caps—or limits on immigrants from specific countries—are so low, that America is losing some of the best and brightest to our international competitors.  Mitt Romney will work with Congress to raise the country caps. 
Every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a U.S. university should be granted permanent residency. 
Make The Temporary Worker Visa System Functional: 
As president, Mitt Romney will make the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and immigrants.  We should get rid of unnecessary requirements that delay issuance of a visa, and we should speed the processing of applications. 
Mitt Romney will work with Congress, states, and employers to properly set the cap on non-agricultural temporary worker visas.  Many tourist-oriented businesses in the United States rely on these workers and would have to cut back or cease operations if there are not enough visas.
Secure Our Borders & Discourage Illegal Immigration 
Mitt Romney will protect legal immigration and the 4.5 million who are waiting in line to enter the United States legally by taking a strong stand against illegal immigration. He believes that illegal immigration must end and has a proven track record of advancing that goal. 
Secure The Borders 
According to the non-partisan Government Accountability Office, Border Patrol lacks control of over half of our southwest border. And some estimates indicate that over 40% of illegal immigrants in America entered the country legally, but then overstayed their visas. 
Mitt Romney will complete a high-tech fence to enhance border security.
Governor Romney will ensure that we have the officers on the ground we need to gain control of the border. 
A Romney Administration will work to develop an efficient, effective system of exit verification to ensure people do not overstay their visas. 
Discourage Illegal Immigration 
Mitt Romney will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that will enable employers to be sure that those they hire are eligible to work. This will discourage illegal immigrants from coming to America to seek jobs.  
Governor Romney opposes all “magnets” that entice illegal immigrants to come to our country.   As governor, he vetoed in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and opposed driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants. 
As president, Mitt Romney will foster a legal immigration system that works. This will offer an alternative to those who would otherwise enter illegally.  For instance, reforming our current temporary worker program will offer employers who need such staff a legal option to find employees. 
Enforce The Law 
Mitt Romney believes in the rule of law and will fully enforce federal immigration law. As governor, he authorized state police to assist the federal government in immigration enforcement. 
Cut Red Tape That Is Keeping Immediate Families Apart 
As president, Mitt Romney will ensure that husbands, wives, and their minor children are brought together on a timely basis. 
Mitt Romney will speed the processing of applications by eliminating the red tape that is keeping immediate families apart. 
Mitt Romney will work with Congress to give legal permanent residents the same priority as citizens when applying to bring husbands, wives, and minor children to the United States. 
Mitt Romney will reallocate green cards to family of citizens and legal permanent residents.
Military Service 
Mitt Romney believes that young illegal immigrants who were brought to the United States as children should have the chance to become permanent residents, and eventually citizens, by serving honorably in the United States military. 
Address The 11 Million Illegal Immigrants In America In A Civil and Resolute Manner That Respects the Rule of Law 
Mitt Romney opposes amnesty because he believes that it acts as a magnet encouraging illegal immigration. The last amnesty law passed in 1986 granted legal status to 2.7 million illegal immigrants. In the decades since, the illegal immigrant population has quadrupled. Mitt believes that an amnesty should not be permitted to happen again. Illegal immigrants who apply for legal status should not be given any advantage over those who are following the law and waiting their turn. Mitt absolutely opposes any policy that would allow illegal immigrants to “cut in line.”
I'll let you all be the judge, but in the end if you aren't happy with your choice don't blame me... I vote libertarian.

Vote Gary Johnson for President.

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