Immigration has become a hot topic in the 2016 presidential campaign, thanks to the presidential executive actions on immigration. But as you look at both parties, there is a clear divide.
Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, defends Obama’s executive actions and wants to take them further, citing “sympathetic cases” of illegal immigrants should be considered for citizenship. Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley, who’s expected to run, views mirror Clinton’s, recently saying, “I’m glad Secretary Clinton’s come around to the right positions on these issues.”
Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has long supported a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, but remains skeptical of guest-worker programs and their impact on native workers.
After the 2012 GOP defeat, party officials pushed for immigration policy changes to appeal to more Hispanics. Ironically, GOP immigration views have shifted to the right. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rick Santorum (R-PA) and Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal are the original GOP “purists” on immigration—remaining steadfast in anti-amnesty beliefs.
Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Wisconsin governor Scott Walker have done an about-face on past views that supported granting legal status to illegal immigrants. Walker said his views have changed and he no longer believes in amnesty. Rubio says he would support some, but not all, of the executive actions. He would remove protections for undocumented parents of U.S. Citizens and permanent resident, (DAPA), but keep protections in place for recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA).
Texas governor Rick Perry was criticized in 2012 for being soft on immigration. Recently, Perry voiced support for stronger border security and said illegal immigration is a “clear and present danger to the health and safety of all Americans.”
Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, was previously a supporter of the DREAM Act that provides immigrants a path to citizenship if they were children brought into the country illegally. But earlier this year, Huckabee signed a pledge that opposes citizenship to anyone in the U.S. illegally.
Like Huckabee, business executive Carly Fiorina supported the DREAM Act in the past. Since entering the presidential race, her views have changed to be more about “enforcement first,” saying a path to citizenship for undocumented youths would encourage more illegal immigration.
In his 2012 book, Dr. Ben Carson questioned the morality of exploiting “cheap labor from illegal immigrants while denying them citizenship.” In 2014, he said illegal immigrants should “apply for guest-worker status from outside the country. This means they would have to leave first.” This mean people complying would have to stay outside the U.S. for 3 to 10 years, under current laws.
In February, former Florida governor, Jeb Bush remained supportive of a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants—making him the only Republican candidate to support some form of amnesty.
Regardless of the candidate, expect immigration to play a part in their campaign. There’s still a long time to the election, so keep an eye on your candidate’s immigration stance before casting your ballot next year.