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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Election to determine millions of immigrants’ fate

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Times
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Times

By Christopher Webb/reporter

(Final in a three-part series looking at presidential campaign issues. This week, The Collegian looks at immigration.)

Photo courtesy Los Angeles Times
Photo courtesy Los Angeles Times

The Collegian looks at three issues that affect TCC students: education reform, health care reform and immigration. The following gives the positions on immigration of the top three candidates from each major party: Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards of the Democratic Party; John McCain, Rudy Giuliani and Fred Thompson of the Republican Party.

Immigration is a touchy subject. A candidate’s stance on the topic is sometimes misconstrued as racism sometimes as agenda driven. Most can list hundreds of problems with immigration, but few can offer a solution.

One proposition dividing candidates is whether a fence should be built along the U.S.-Mexico border. Another is making English the official U.S. language. Many are against an official language because they view it as forced assimilation.

The biggest problem once the borders are secured is what to do with everyone who is already here. Few advocate total amnesty, but many support a “path to citizenship.” If enacted, amnesty would be a way for people who came to this country illegally but who now pay taxes, hold jobs and have met other standards to pay a fine and become citizens with all the rights that entails.

Hillary Clinton
Clinton has said she believes in more border control on both the Mexican and Canadian borders. She believes that serious reform is needed and supports the guest worker program and the “path to citizenship.” She also supports a fence along the border as well as illegal immigrants participating in Social Security. She does not believe in total amnesty for those already here.

“ We ought to come up with a much better entry-and-exit system so that if we’re going to let people in for the work that otherwise would not be done, let’s have a system that keeps track of them.” (Clinton quoted in The Extreme Makeover by Bay Buchanan)

John Edwards
Edwards believes in more security at the borders but also calls for a closer investigation into underlying reasons. He supports the road to citizenship and said undocumented workers deserve the same rights as American workers. He wants to cooperate with Mexico to secure the border and give those already here and those wanting to come a clear and more accessible process.

“My family moved to Robins, N.C., because my father, who has a high school education and is still living, believed that by working hard and doing the right thing, his kids would have the opportunity for a better life. These Hispanic families? They came here for exactly the same reason. And those who came and live here, who work hard and are responsible, they have earned the right to be American citizens.” (Edwards during the Democratic Primary Debate in Albuquerque, N.M.)

Barack Obama
Obama advocates being a “nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.” He supports a guest worker program but also believes in removing incentives to enter illegally and in punishing employers who hire illegal immigrants. He supports a fence along the border and illegal immigrants’ participating in Social Security.

“We have to make sure that employers are held accountable because right now employers are taking advantage of undocumented workers. And we’ve got to give a pathway to citizenship, but people have to earn it. They’re going to have to pay a fine. They’ve got to make sure that they’re learning English. They’ve got to go to the back of the line so that they’re not rewarded for having broken the law.” (Obama at the AFL-CIO Democratic Primary Forum)

Rudy Giuliani
Giuliani supports both a guest worker program and a “path to citizenship.” While mayor of New York, he offered protection to illegal immigrants who reported crimes but still believes a database is needed to keep track of immigration. He also supports changing the laws to allow an immigrant to run for president.

“The focus on immigration should be to know everyone who’s in the U.S. We should have a tamper-proof ID card; we should have a database in which we can identify the people who are in this country. We’ve got to be sensible about immigration.” (Giuliani during the Republican Debate in South Carolina)

John McCain
McCain supports a guest worker program, but believes the focus and problem are at the border. He is also a strong advocate of building a fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I have never supported amnesty and never would. But the American people expect us to sit down and work this issue out together. That’s what I’ve been doing for a couple of years now. We are very close to an agreement, led by our president and his Cabinet, that will first secure our borders. Then we would have a temporary worker program that could only be valid through a tamper-proof biometric document. And then we would address the issue of the 12 million people who are already here.” (McCain during the Republican Debate in South Carolina)

Fred Thompson
Thompson’s view is that even if we wanted to deport the more than 11 million illegal immigrants in this country, we couldn’t because we just do not have the manpower. Thompson thinks the focus should be on making sure 12 million more don’t enter. He opposes the McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill and strongly opposes amnesty in any form. He does support the skilled worker visa program.

“We woke up one day after years of neglect and apparently discovered that we have somewhere between 12 million and 20 million illegal aliens in this country. So it became an impossible situation to deal with. I mean, there’s really no good solution. So what do you do? You have to start over. Well, I’m concerned about the next 12 million or 20 million. So that’s why enforcement, and enforcement at the border, has to be primary.” (Thompson during the presidential candidate interviews on Fox News Sunday)

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