US citizens routinely complain about the low wages that immigrants seem to cause. However, while complaining, they forget that the low wages also results in lower costs in the consumables, like fruits and vegetables, they consume and the lower costs they pay at hotels and restaurants. It is a cause-and-effect process where the end result is the lower out of pocket expenses for the complainers. In politics, immigrants are the easy scapegoats to all that ails the country. They either do not exercise their right to vote or they are unable to vote. Without a voice, immigrants are easy targets.

Voters for the most part vote on trigger items that affect them personally. Whether it is health or other benefits, or special interests like the economy, taxes or social changes like same-sex marriages, the vast majority of voter focus on their individual trigger points. For the most part, the trigger points are balanced by opposing viewpoints who are able to control the dialog through their own electorate. It is balancing act on who can mobilize the largest amount of voters. Except for immigrant advocates.

Anti-immigrant rhetoric driving public policy is seldom balanced by pro-immigrant advocates because the pro-advocates do not have a support base of voters that they can leverage at the polls. Thus the public discussion about immigration reform is often one sided as the other side is silenced by their inability to mobilize a voting bloc.

Like others interested in US politics I have my own interest trigger points. As an immigrant, immigration reform is one of my most important issues in the presidential race. Unfortunately, other than to point out misconceptions and write about it, my inability to vote because I am not a US citizen makes it difficult to force a public discussion devoid of political rhetoric.

However, because immigration reform figures prominently in the national debate each of the top contenders for the presidency in 2016 has had to address it. Because of political agendas, their position on immigration reform is distorted by news media biases and opposition perceptional attacks by the operatives of their opponents. Therefore, I wanted to get a clear understanding of the immigration platforms of the top presidential candidates. To get a clear picture I went straight to their websites.

Hillary Clinton (D)
Clinton’s platform promises to embrace a pathway to citizenship focused on keeping families together. Clinton is promising to defend President Obama’s DACA and DAPA executive actions. Hillary Clinton’s platform is pro-immigration reform.

Ted Cruz (R)
Ted Cruz’ immigration platform is focused on securing the border. Cruz argues that immigration must be stopped until unemployment is reduced. Cruz wants to build a wall and end technology work permits while increasing deportations. Ted Cruz’s immigration platform is to close immigration, both legal and undocumented, into the United States, until the US reduces its unemployment rate.

Marco Rubio (R)
Marco Rubio wants to secure the border as well. Rubio advocates finishing the wall, hiring additional border patrol agents and using technology to track and verify immigrants. Rubio argues that enforcement must be a priority but insists that immigrants are good for the country. Rubio wants to modernize the immigration system away from a family-based one towards one based on work and skilled based labor. Marco Rubio advocates creating a seasonal guest worker program and agricultural visas as well high-tech visas to fill labor requirements.

In regards to the millions of undocumented immigrants already in the United States, Rubio proposes allowing them to register on a temporary basis and after passing background checks and paying fines they would be allowed into a pathway to an eventual permanent legal immigration state. Marco Rubio’s platform espouses border and immigration reform, reforming the immigration process to focus on labor needs and creating a pathway for those already in the country.

Donald Trump (R)
Donald Trump’s immigration platform is focused on ensuring US employees have the first access to US jobs. Trump advocates building a wall on the southern border of the United States and doing away with employee-based visas allowing foreign workers into the US to work. Donald Trump also wants to end birthright citizenship. Trump advocates that before any new immigrants are allowed into the country that employers must fill job vacancies with US workers first. Donald Trump’s immigration platform is one of securing the border and ending immigration into the United States until all job openings are filled by US workers.

Bernie Sanders (D)
Bernie Sanders advocates ending deportations and detention centers. Sanders wants to offer a road to citizenship to the undocumented immigrants in the country. Bernie Sanders also wants to “modernize the visa system.” He wants to expand DACA and DAPA. Sanders also wants to enact legislation to allow immigrant workers the right to assert their worker rights without the fear of reprisals through adverse immigration actions. Sanders’ plan includes allowing undocumented immigrants to be sponsored by US and resident alien relatives and to allow those who overstayed their visas to remain in the US.

Unique to Bernie Sanders, he is advocating allowing formerly deported immigrants to return to the United States to reunite with family members. Sanders advocates holding the border patrol accountable and doing away with the US-Mexico wall to be replaced by technology to monitor the border. Sanders advocates a “humane” border and immigration process. In essence, Bernie Sanders wants to implement an immigration policy that is welcoming of immigrants into the United States and do away with capricious enforcement designed to appease anti-immigrant politics.

I realize that it is one thing to state that a candidate will do something and a completely different thing that they will keep their promises once they are elected. It is important, though, to have a starting point from where we can begin the discussion. Their official platforms on the issue of immigration reform is a good starting point as each of the candidates race towards the nomination to their respective parties.

I am pleasantly surprised by Bernie Sanders’ stated immigration reform platform. It is clear, fair and focuses on the reality of why immigrants come to the United States.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...

3 replies on “The Immigration Reform Platforms of the Leading 2016 Presidential Candidates”

  1. Ultimately, “legal immigration” is what each candidate should advocate. Each year between 400,000 and 500,000 Visa holders overstay their presence in the U.S. That means approx. 5 million illegal immigrants came in legally but broke the law by ignoring the time on the visas. The Visa program must be reformed, reduce the amount of visas approved until such time as the gov’t has adopted and implemented a program that will deport those who break their visa conditions. The border also has to be addressed, because we are being flooded by illegal immigrants there too. Who are they, who knows. It is virtually impossible to sustain the present entry of illegal immigrants by which ever method they come. What is absolutely true, is that they are not coming to the U.S. to assimilate, obey our laws and become a part of the fabric of our country. If that was the case, they would do as the thousands of legally sworn in new citizens I have witnessed at the swearing in of legal immigrants in El Paso. They take the oath with pride and it is moving to see these new citizens walk out of the ceremonies knowing that the did it legally.

  2. Mexico is a failed state and we must protect ourselves from it before it further damages our Republic. A country where a mayor can call the police chief and order the execution of 43 inconvenient students is not a civilized country. A country where dozens of journalists are killed for exposing PRI corruption is not a civilized country. We must protect our civilized country of law from Mexico and Central America.

    Already here in El Paso the rich Mexicans who fled the civil war there are spreading their diseased entitlement culture here. They act as if even our traffic laws are something they can flaunt. Have you been nearly t-boned by one of them roaring thru a stop sign in their Escalade , and then giving you the finger when you honk your disapproval? I have.

    It’s not your maid or the farm worker who threatens your country; it is Mexico and its corrupt and violent culture. It is a disease.

    I support isolation of Mexico from civilized North America, an impregnable wall, suspension of NAFTA, and deportation of undocumented criminals in our prisons back to the 3rd world hell hole they came form.

    As for those illegally here, I agree with Martin that there needs to be a path to legal citizenship for them. Not because I like them but because mass deportation of 10MM +/- people will turn us into a gulag state and the La Raza intellectuals will have accomplished their cultural Marxist agenda to destroy their host country, like the parasites they are.

    E Pluribus Unum, not Reconquista.

  3. Not too long ago, relatively speaking, I was reading the comments on some essay I had read (don’t recall the subject matter). Those commenting made reference to the ‘Quiverfulls’, the Quiverfulls this and the Quiverfulls that. Not knowing what a Quiverfull was, I could not make sense of the comments.

    After a little research I came to find that this is a group of Norte Americanos that practice the art of mass production, fornicate and drop-a-baby every nine months or so. Not only that, but they follow their own version of ‘Sharia’Christianity; home schooling, females obey males, association with their kind only and so on. Read that most of these families live in poverty.

    Seems to me that at the rate they are begetting they will be changing the landscape of this country, the very fabric of our nation will change due to these who refuse to assimilate or in this case who have chosen to disassimilate.

    This must be a real huge thorn on the right-side of the Assimilation Crowd, having to fight the óthers’ for not assimilating and now having this rogue group of N.Am. disassimilating.

    On another note, a country that practices the fine art of kidnapping and torturing human beings is not a civilized country.

    A nation that spends its wealth on destroying sovereign countries to steal their resources and kill their citizens is a nation populated by human parasites.

    What a shame.

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