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Looking Toward 2016: Current Candidates’ Stance on Immigration

1342516_flag.jpgAlthough the 2016 presidential election is still more than a year away, hopeful candidates have already begun to throw their hats into the ring. Since the need for comprehensive immigration reform remains one of the most important national issues, voters should be kept up to date on the candidates’ stances on immigration-related topics.

Democratic Candidates

Currently, the only Democrat candidate running for president is Hillary Clinton. Mrs. Clinton roundly supports the President’s executive action policies and recently voiced her strongest support for states’ policies to allow undocumented foreign nationals to obtain drivers licenses. While support for comprehensive immigration reform is typically drawn according to party lines, in 2008 Mrs. Clinton was criticized for not openly supporting the states’ initiatives to provide drivers licenses to undocumented foreign nationals. It appears that she now wishes to remove all doubt regarding this issue by making her support for these policies quite public.

Republican Candidates

The Republican Party is currently fielding three presidential candidates: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio.

Senator Ted Cruz is the son of Cuban immigrants and often cites his pride at being a first-generation American. As a member of the Gang of 8, Senator Cruz participated in drafting the comprehensive immigration bill that passed in the Senate in 2013 but stalled in the House of Representatives that same year. Additionally, Senator Cruz supports increasing the statutory cap on H-1B visas and similar efforts to expand employment-based visas.

While these aspects of Senator Cruz’s campaign are encouraging, he has repeatedly criticized the President’s executive orders and remains a firm opponent of expanding immigration-related relief for undocumented foreign nationals.

Senator Rand Paul wants to focus on securing the border before enacting any other pieces of immigration reform. However, he has stated that he would likely not reverse the President’s executive orders because he doesn’t feel that the undocumented foreign national population needs to be sent back to their home countries. Instead, he would choose to integrate the undocumented population more fully into American society and the nation’s economy by providing them with work authorization and ensuring they pay taxes.

Additionally (and more problematically), Senator Paul previously introduced a bill that would essentially amend the birthright citizenship clause in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution by requiring a child’s parents to be U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents in order for the child to be a U.S. citizen at birth. Many opponents of immigrant rights cite birthright citizenship as one of the leading causes of undocumented immigration, making the flawed argument that undocumented foreign nationals use their U.S.-born children for immigration benefits.

Senator Marco Rubio has also announced his candidacy for 2016. Senator Rubio is the son of Cuban immigrants, but his heritage seems to hold no sway over his political beliefs and actions. Senator Rubio continues to be an outspoken opponent against the President’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) policy and his executive action. While he previously proposed immigration reform that would provide a pathway to citizenship for undocumented foreign nationals, Senator Rubio backpedaled on this idea when criticized by others in his party.

The Rant

Voters should be well-informed of the various candidates’ positions on immigration issues. Continue to check back with to receive the most up-to-date news on the 2016 election and how it will affect immigration reform.

Additional Blog Posts

The Possible Impact of Sequestration for Employers and Immigrant Workers, ImmigRantings, April 22, 2013
More States Expected to Exert Control Regarding Illegal Immigration Problems, ImmigRantings, August 3, 2013