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Key Positions on the Immigration Bill

As the Immigration bill makes another run through the Senate, a look at the various positions of the leading presidential candidates and other key players is in order. Here are the positions on the important issue of what to do about the illegal immigrants already in the country. Source: New York Times:

    Hillary Clinton:
  • "I'm in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, which includes tightening our border security, sanctioning employers to employ undocumented immigrants, helping our communities deal with the costs that come from illegal immigration, getting the 12 million or so immigrants out of the shadows. That's very important to me."

    "After 9/11, we've got to know who's in this country. And then giving them a chance to pay a fine, pay back taxes, learn English and stand in line to be eligible for a legal status in this country."

    John Edwards:
  • "I think [immigrants] ought to be allowed to earn American citizenship. Now I use the word, "earn" because I mean earn. I think if they came here illegally, then they ought to have to pay a fine...Another one that's a little more controversial is, but I believe it, is I think they ought to have to learn to speak English. I would allow a path for them to be able to earn American citizenship, and I think you have to do all these things together, not just one part of it."
    Barack Obama:
  • "[We] have to recognize that we've got 12 million undocumented workers who are already here. Many of them living their lives alongside other Americans. Their kids are going to school. Many of the kids, in fact, were born in this country and are citizens. And so, it's absolutely vital that we bring those families out of the shadows and that we give them the opportunity to travel a pathway to citizenship. It's not automatic citizenship. It's not amnesty. They would have to pay a fine. They would have to not have engaged in any criminal activity. They would have to learn English. They would have to go to the back of the line so that they did not get citizenship before those persons who had come here legally."
    John McCain:
  • "[W]e need to have a guest worker program....our proposal is basically you can get a tamper-proof visa after your job has been proven that it cannot be filled by an American citizen. Now, what do you do with the 11 million people that are already here?....[M]ake them earn citizenship because they have broken our laws....My friends, that's not amnesty. Amnesty is forgiveness. We're not forgiving anything."
    Rudy Giuliani:
  • "If anybody is here illegally, they should never get to be put ahead of a line of people that are here legally. They should have to pay a penalty, because there should not be amnesty. It's a civil wrong. Civil wrongs are compensated by paying penalties. They should pay the back taxes. And if you ultimately find a way to make them citizens, then there should be a very, very strong requirement that they speak English, read English, write English, and understand American history."
    Mitt Romney:
  • "The first thing I'd like them to do is to register, so I know how many there are, and what their circumstances are. ... And on that basis, we can see who would receive temporary employment visas and who would instead be required to return home" Check back hourly for updates on changes to Romney's position on this issue.
    Tom Tancredo:
  • "If you're in this country illegally, the penalty, yes, is deportation. And there are easier ways to handle it. We can by attrition, that is, not giving people jobs if they're here illegally. Millions will return home voluntarily. Others that don't, you have to deport. Because you know why? It is the law. Mr. President, hello. It's the law. Do you understand those words?"

Tancredo is included as he is a key player in the Senate and a spokesman against the bill.

Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!

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Comments (5)

Paul Hamilton:

Get rid of the English requirement and I'd go along with Rudy's position.

John in CA:

Why get rid of the English requirement?

How 'bout this? If you want to be an American citizen, then you know how to read, write and speak English. No more voter ballots or materials in any language but English. Cuz' if you're an American citizen then you know how to read, speak and write English, therefore printing voting materials in any language other than English is redundant and an unnecessary expense.

Lee Ward:

Basic english skills are a citizenship requirement now, but voting materials in spanish, etc. are not a citizenship issue. Printing ballot materials in other languages recognizes the diverse backgrounds of our citizenry, and recognizes the important we place on rights and privileges such as voting, by allowing those for whom English is their second language the opportunity to read and fully understand the issues by providing voting materials in their native language.

The cost is minimal when you take into account the overall cost of an election, and the extreme importance for all citizens to make an informed decision in an important matter such as voting.

I'm really surprised, John, by the importance you place on stripping away the current practice of printing these materials in other languages. Why is the printing of non-english voting materials such a "hot button" issue for you, John?

Paul Hamilton:

John, the United States does not have an official language, and that's a good thing IMHO. Since that's the case, what constitutional basis would there be for requiring that immigrants be proficient in English as a requirement of citizenship?

This is one more example of my perhaps-old-fashioned insistence that the law of the land have some basis in the document which defines our rights as citizens.


the english language issue is one of integration into society. if someone immigrates to the US, yet never learns english, how can they legitimately integrate into society? in a lot of urban areas in this country, there are portions of the cities that you enter where it's like entering a different country altogether.

don't get me wrong, i want people to celebrate their heritage, to know their history and the history of their people. i think it's great when children are brought up learning the language of their ancestors.

but...if you're going to immigrate to another country, doesn't it make sense that you should attempt to integrate into the society that you are immigrating to? and isn't one of the keys to that speaking the language?


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Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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