As president, I will fight illegal immigration in order to preserve an appropriate level of legal immigration. At the same time, I believe our system of legal immigration needs to be re-examined. As part of this re-examination, I support a modest, temporary reduction in the annual rate of legal immigration.
There is no quick fix for illegal immigration. But only when we achieve better control of our borders and better respect for our immigration laws can we give meaning to the discussion we need to have over reforming the numbers, categories, and procedures for legal immigration into the United States.
Jan C. Ting
Congressional mistakes have dramatically increased immigration through a series of what I believe were ill-advised actions going back to 1965 when the basic notions of our immigration laws were revised. In 1990, Congress opened the floodgates by passing a 35-percent increase in legal immigration.
We need to be discussing issues specifically to help the American people. And that would not include illegal aliens. These are people - I'm for immigration - legal immigration. I've been an immigration attorney. But people who have come to our country and violated laws, we should not be providing full health care services.
The problem with much of the debate over this issue is that we confuse two separate matters: immigration policy (how many people we admit) and immigrant policy (how we treat people who are already here). What our nation needs is a pro-immigrant policy of low immigration. A pro-immigrant policy of low immigration can reconcile America's traditional welcome for newcomers with the troubling consequences of today's mass immigration. It would enable us to be faithful and wise stewards of America's interests while also showing immigrants the respect they deserve as future Americans.
Like other discriminatory legislation in our country's history, immigration laws define and differentiate legal status on the basis of arbitrary attributes. Immigration laws create unequal rights. People who break immigration laws don't cause harm or even potential harm (unlike, for example, drunk driving, which creates the potential for harm even if no accident occurs). Rather, people who break immigration laws do things that are perfectly legal for others, but denied to them-like crossing a border or, even more commonly, simply exist.
Like other discriminatory legislation in our country's history, immigration laws define and differentiate legal status on the basis of arbitrary attributes. Immigration laws create unequal rights. People who break immigration laws don't cause harm or even potential harm (unlike, for example, drunk driving, which creates the potential for harm even if no accident occurs). Rather, people who break immigration laws do things that are perfectly legal for others, but denied to them--like crossing a border or, even more commonly, simply exist.
It's absolutely the wrong signal, I think, to those who have entered this country legally or those who may be considering illegal immigration for a lot of benefits to be provided... Emergency medical needs should be met, but otherwise I think send the wrong signal to those who have come into the country legally and those who may be considering illegal immigration. So as you know, I've called for an increase in the border patrol agents. I've looked at that from both the standpoints of drugs and to prevent illegal immigration, but I think that's where the focus should be.
I am long term optimistic and short term pessimistic on immigration. Long term, I'm optimistic because there's a lotta bipartisan agreement outside of Washington on immigration. There's overwhelming bipartisan agreement, number one, that we need to secure the borders. That we need to finally do something to stop illegal immigration.
There is a common perception that there are two alternative libertarian positions on immigration: government-controlled borders and open borders. Nothing could be further from the truth. There is only one libertarian position on immigration, and that position is open immigration or open borders.
Jacob G. Hornberger
I know that many Irish-born New Yorkers are caught in the trap of our federal immigration policies. If we are going to continue to attract the best and the brightest - and Ireland has more than its fair share - we need to inject some common sense into our immigration laws, and I'm doing my best to make that case in Washington.
Immigration and border security remain critical issues that I am committed to addressing this year. The good news is that illegal immigration is at an all-time low, making now the time to dedicate the needed technology and resources to finally secure the border for good. As border security improves, I look forward to working in a bipartisan manner to fix our broken immigration system and address the millions of people living in the United States outside of legal status.
Before ICE, we had Immigration and Naturalization Services, but it wasn't until about 1999 that we chose to criminalize immigration at all. And then, once ICE was established, we really kind of militarized that enforcement to a degree that was previously unseen in the United States.
There's got to be a point where we fix the system so that legal immigration is easier than illegal immigration and show respect for people, a kid who might have been here for 10 years, that might be a valedictorian of their high school to say, no, no, no you're not allowed to go to college. I just think there's a point past which we are over the line.
What we need to do is to have a sensible approach to immigration. It needs to be open. It needs to be non-dogmatic and non-bigoted. We need to be firm but reasonable in the way we deal with the problem of illegal immigration. And we need to try to get as many of our immigrants who want to do so to become citizens as quickly as possible so that the American people will all see that this is a part of the process of American history, which is a good one for our country.
William J. Clinton
Number one, it is absolutely critical that we tone down the rhetoric when it comes to the immigration debate, because there has been an undertone that has been ugly. Oftentimes, it has been directed at the Hispanic community. We have seen hate crimes skyrocket in the wake of the immigration debate as it has been conducted in Washington, and that is unacceptable.
Immigration is a federal issue. The failing of Washington to implement an immigration system that works for our families and our businesses - it's Washington's failure. For us locally in Colorado, it's really important that all people here feel comfortable with their local law enforcement.
If those who wrote and ratified the 14th Amendment had imagined laws restricting immigration - and had anticipated huge waves of illegal immigration - is it reasonable to presume they would have wanted to provide the reward of citizenship to the children of the violators of those laws? Surely not.
What's the difference? How can people be so inconsistent? Why is it that free immigration was a good thing before 1914 and free immigration is a bad thing today? Well, there is a sense in which that answer is right. There's a sense in which free immigration, in the same sense as we had it before 1914 is not possible today. Why not?
When it comes to immigration reform, now is the time ... I've never seen a better political environment ... I'm not doing immigration reform to solve the Republican Party's political problem. I'm trying to save our nation from, I think, a shortage of labor and a catastrophic broken system.
This is a serious problem of major concern, and we have got to approach it in a way that is consistent with this nation's tradition as a nation of immigrants, focusing on legal immigration, supporting that in the right way and doing everything possible consistent with the Constitution to control illegal immigration, and we will continue in those efforts.
Immigration is the most difficult issue I've ever dealt with, and I've dealt with some tough issues: drones, gays in the military, WikiLeaks, Guantanamo. But immigration is hardest because there are so few people willing to talk and build consensus. Everybody's firmly made up their mind. It's a polarized issue.
Whatever open-border libertarians think about immigration law, once the immigration scofflaw steals, trespasses, or vandalizes private property, said alien is guilty of crimes. To say, moreover, that the state's laws made masses of men and women commit such crimes is to voice the philosophy of determinism, not individualism.
Based on my experience as a prosecutor in Miami, illegal immigration is one of the most critical issues facing this country. As a prosecutor, I felt the burden of it. I think what's important... is for the state and the federal government and for local governments to work together to do everything possible to control illegal immigration in a comprehensive way.
I know that when I look at today's Mexicans and Central Americans, they seem to me fundamentally the same as my grandparents seeking a better life in America. On the other side, however, open immigration can't coexist with a strong social safety net; if you're going to assure health care and a decent income to everyone, you can't make that offer global. So Democrats have mixed feelings about immigration; in fact, it's an agonizing issue.
Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams - to study, invent, and contribute to our culture - they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let's get immigration reform done this year.
You will find that hardly a soul who will say that it was a bad thing. Almost everybody will say it was a good thing. 'But what about today? Do you think we should have free immigration?' 'Oh, no,' they'll say, 'We couldn't possibly have free immigration today. Why, that would flood us with immigrants from India, and God knows where. We'd be driven down to a bare subsistence level.'
More than 95 percent of both legal and illegal immigration into the United States is non-white. Because of the way immigration law is structured, the highest-skilled nations on earth - those of Europe - are allowed only a tiny percentage of immigrants, while the third world nations such as Mexico are dumping their chaff onto American shores at the highest rate in history.
If your vote is your voice for change, then your letter is your pleading for reform. We must unite as one, on one day, in a manifestation of passive resistance. Mail a letter to your president February 12, 2009 and request a change in the immigration system as it stands today and reform of the current immigration laws.
Carlos E. Galindo
I've always said that the 1986 [Immigration Reform and Control] Act had a fourth leg [in addition to law enforcement, increased immigration and amnesty] to its stool which was wishful thinking. And that pattern of a four-legged stool was copied in the failed attempts to enact a second and bigger general amnesty for illegal aliens in 2006, 2007, and in the current year 2013.
Jan C. Ting
I support lowering the level of legal immigration by a moderate amount at this time. Legal immigration reform must be based upon principles that are pro-family, pro-work, and pro-naturalization, retaining opportunities for family reunification as the levels are lowered. We must not let this issue become divisive in this country.
William J. Clinton
Unless legal and illegal immigration is halted and reversed, European First World nations across all of Europe from Spain to Russia, North America, Australia and New Zealand - will be destroyed and have their very culture and civilisation changed to that of the Third World. Immigration is now the single most important issue facing all First World nations, and will determine whether Western Civilisation continues to exist or not.
We should strengthen our immigration laws to prevent the importation of foreign wages and working conditions. We should make it illegal for employers to lay off Americans and then fill their jobs by bringing in workers from overseas. Any U.S. employer who wishes to hire from abroad - even for temporary jobs - should have to recruit U.S. workers first. And we should end the unskilled immigration that competes with young Americans just entering the job market.
Reform immigration to make it easy for individuals to come over here, be documented, pay taxes - immigration reform is needed to state that its about work, its not about welfare... Set up a grace period where they can get a work permit... social security card so that they can pay income tax, social security, Medicare.
Because it is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both. If you have a welfare state, if you have a state in which every resident is promises a certain minimal level of income, or a minimum level of subsistence, regardless of whether he works or not, produces it or not. Then it really is an impossible thing.
We are trying to identify employers that might be [hiring illegal aliens] and to take effective action against them. We're trying to make sure that employers that want to cooperate have a system whereby they can verify the employment status of a person that they are seeking to hire. It is part of a comprehensive initiative in which we look both at the border, at the workplace, at criminal aliens, in an attempt to have a comprehensive effort aimed at stopping illegal immigration while at the same time promoting legal immigration according to principles of due process.
I appreciate the good work that senators in both parties have put into trying to fix our broken immigration system. There are some good elements in this proposal, especially increasing the resources and manpower to secure our border and also improving and streamlining legal immigration. However, I have deep concerns with the proposed path to citizenship. To allow those who came here illegally to be placed on such a path is both inconsistent with rule of law and profoundly unfair to the millions of legal immigrants who waited years, if not decades, to come to America legally.
First, with the establishment of a state and territorially defined state borders, 'immigration' takes on an entirely new meaning. In a natural order, immigration is a person's migration from one neighborhood-community into a different one (micro-migration). In contrast, under statist conditions immigration is immigration by 'foreigners' from across state borders, and the decision whom to exclude or include, and under what conditions, rests not with a multitude of independent private property owners or neighborhoods of owners but with a single central (and centralizing) state-government as the ultimate sovereign of all domestic residents and their properties (macro-migration). If a domestic resident-owner invites a person and arranges for his access onto the resident-owner's property but the government excludes this person from the state territory, it is a case of forced exclusion (a phenomenon that does not exist in a natural order). On the other hand, if the government admits a person while there is no domestic resident-owner who has invited this person onto his property, it is a case of forced integration (also nonexistent in a natural order, where all movement is invited).
To the extent that our workers compete with low-paid Mexicans, it is as much through undocumented immigration as trade. This pattern threatens low-paid, low-skill U.S. workers. The combination of domestic reforms and NAFTA-related growth in Mexico will keep more Mexicans at home. It is likely that a reduction in immigration will increase the real wages of low-skilled urban and rural workers in the United States.
William J. Clinton
If we are going to deport Dreamers, and if we are going to deport undocumented individuals, our economy is going to take a big hit. That is why businesses across the country and in Nevada support immigration reform, support Dreamers, and support passing immigration reform to keep undocumented individuals in our state.
Look, for example, at the obvious, immediate, practical example of illegal Mexican immigration. Now, that Mexican immigration, over the border, is a good thing. It's a good thing for the illegal immigrants. It's a good thing for the United States. It's a good thing for the citizens of the country. But, it's only good so long as its illegal.