The Immigration Debate
The immigration debate focuses on how to handle the millions of undocumented immigrants currently in the US and how to limit the amount of undocumented immigrants who enter the US. Should undocumented immigrants be given a path towards citizenship? What is the best way to minimize illegal immigration? Should states have the power to create their own immigration laws?
Official Democratic position
“Democrats are strongly committed to enacting comprehensive immigration reform that supports our economic goals and reflects our values as both a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants.” The Party supports the DREAM Act and wants to create a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The Party believes that immigration is a federal issue – states and local governments should not be able to create their own immigration laws.
Official Republican position
“…The presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and sovereignty of the United States.” The Republican Party opposes any form of amnesty, supports the mandatory use of E-verify, and encourages state efforts to reduce illegal immigration. The Party supports finishing the double-layered fence at the US-Mexico border. The Party believes that federal funding should be denied to “sanctuary cities” and supports English as the official language of the United States.
Immigration is primarily a federal issue. The President works with the Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration laws. Congress is responsible for creating immigration-related laws and regulations. Federal laws determine: who can legally immigrate, deportable offenses, and the legal rights given to undocumented immigrants.
In an effort to deal with the problem of illegal immigration, many states have passed their own immigration laws. These laws focus on immigration enforcement such as employment verification, extending driver’s license eligibility to undocumented immigrants, and offering access to some social safety-net programs. However, if challenged in court, many of these laws are unconstitutional under the Supremacy Clause which establishes the supremacy of federal law over state law in the Constitution.
Article Six, U.S. Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”
1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act - Made it illegal to knowingly hire an undocumented immigrant; denied welfare benefits to undocumented immigrants
Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act 2008 - Unaccompanied minors caught by Border Patrol must be given safe housing and legal counsel about their case
Most Vocal on Immigration
These are the candidates who focus on this issue the most, with the most liberal on this issue on the left and the most conservative on this issue on the right. Click on the circles to see more information.
The Spectrum on Immigration
These are the candidates who are most liberal, most conservative, and most moderate on this specific issue. Click on each candidate to see more information.