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.
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