The race to the White House officially kicks off with the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses on February 1. Although FAIR does not endorse candidates, we believe that the issue of immigration is of the upmost importance as Republicans and Democrats choose their nominees for the 2016 presidential election. For your convenience, FAIR provides the following summary of each of the major candidates’ immigration positions to educate you before you caucus on Monday. For more information on commonsense immigration positions that advance the national interest, please visit http://www.fairus.org/
Democratic Presidential Candidates
- Hillary Clinton: Clinton promises to go even “further” than President Obama in granting executive amnesty outside the law until Congress passes legislation providing “full and equal citizenship” to illegal aliens. Regarding enforcement, Clinton will only deport illegal aliens “who pose a violent threat to public safety.” By comparison, in 2003 as a U.S. Sentor, Clinton described herself as “adamantly against illegal immigrants.”
- Martin O’Malley: O’Malley supports taking “bold, executive action to provide immediate relief” to illegal aliens until Congress passes “comprehensive” immigration reform. O’Malley will end State and local cooperation for interior enforcement while expressing vague support for border security. O’Malley also wants to make illegal aliens eligible for Obamacare.
- Bernie Sanders: Sanders vows to “take extensive executive action” to shield even more illegal aliens from deportation than President Obama did until Congress passes a “roadmap to citizenship.” Sanders’s immigration plan calls for “modernizing” border security while ending State and local cooperation for interior enforcement. Sanders voted for the Gang of Eight mass amnesty guest worker bill in 2013 but played a key role in stopping amnesty legislation in 2006 and 2007.
Republican Presidential Candidates
- Jeb Bush: Bush’s immigration plan calls for a path to “earned legal status” for illegal aliens and an expedited path to citizenship for so-called DREAMers, illegal aliens who claim to have been brought to the country unlawfully as minors. Bush considers fencing a “component of border security” but only “where appropriate” and supports a “strong E-Verify system.”
- Ben Carson: Carson’s immigration plan grants illegal aliens with a “pristine record” the “opportunity to become guest workers” and possibly citizens “later on down the road.” Additionally, Carson claims his administration can seal the border within the first year but he opposes deporting the entire illegal alien population currently residing unlawfully in the country.
- Ted Cruz: Cruz opposes amnesty and wants to “stop illegal immigration.” His immigration plan calls for securing the border and strengthening and enforcing existing immigration laws. Although Cruz has previously supported increasing legal immigration, he now supports reforming the system to “prioritize the interests and well-being of Americans.”
- John Kasich: Kasich supports giving illegal aliens a “path to legalization” and said a top priority in his administration will be “expand[ing] guest workers.” Kasich calls deporting illegal aliens “a silly argument” but has expressed vague support for securing the border.
- Marco Rubio: Rubio led the 2013 Gang of Eight bill that granted mass amnesty, significantly increased legal immigration, and contained only promises of future enforcement. Rubio now opposes that 1,200 page bill but his immigration plan supports passing its provisions “in a sequential and piecemeal way.”
- Donald Trump: Trump’s immigration plan opposes amnesty and calls for eliminating the incentives that encourage illegal immigration. His plan centers on three “core principles” of immigration reform: control the border; enforce immigration laws; and prioritize American workers. However, Trump has previously said that after deporting illegal aliens he would allow the “really good people” to return.