This week, three GOP candidates entered the 2016 race. Here’s what we know about their stance on current U.S. immigration policy:
Fiorina announced on Monday that she is running in the Republican presidential primary. Fiorina is a former Silicon-valley businesswoman who began her career at AT&T and was the CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Her political career began with a run for the Senate in California in 2010. At the time Fiorina said she supported the DREAM Act:
“I would support the DREAM Act because I do not believe that we can punish children who through no fault of their own are here trying to live the American dream.”
However, since moving to the national stage she has adopted an enforcement-first policy before the DREAM Act or any other type of immigration legislation and now says that providing a path to citizenship for undocumented youth would spur more unauthorized immigration:
“When we pass something called the Dream Act before we’ve even secured the border all we’re doing is making the problem worse.”
With respect to a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Fiorina has come out strongly against it:
“I do not. Not for those who came here illegally and who have stayed here illegally…Half the people here illegally came on a legal visa–we just never bothered to follow up.”
Enforcement-first policies come at a high cost. Studies have found that mass deportation would decrease the U.S. GDP by $2.6 trillion over 10 years. With Fiorina’s business background, she should recognize the folly of enforcement-only and the economic benefits of immigration reform.
Dr. Ben Carson
Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Carson practiced neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. Carson declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination on Monday in Detroit and said “the real pedigree we need to heal this country is someone who believes in our constitution.”
However, Carson’s grasp of the U.S. constitution in the immigration context appears weak. After President Obama announced his executive actions on immigration, Carson said that it was “lawless.” However, more than 100 law professors from around the nation disagree with him and have affirmed the President’s actions are well within his constitutional authority.
In 2012, Caron questioned the morality of taking advantage of “cheap labor from illegal immigrants while denying them citizenship” in his book America the Beautiful. Yet in 2014 he said in an op-ed that he believes undocumented immigrants should “apply for guest-worker status from outside the country. This means they would have to leave first”. This policy would tear families apart under the current immigration laws because many immigrants would be subject to three or ten year bars to reentering the U.S.
But Carson said that in any case, immigration reform legislation cannot move forward until the border is secure, despite evidence that an “enforcement first” approach to immigration control for more than two-and-a-half decades has yet to work.
Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Presidential Candidate Huckabee entered the race on Tuesday. On immigration issues, he is harder to pin down. On the one hand, Huckabee’s campaign website states that there is an “immigration crisis” and that “without a secure border, nothing matters.”
He also criticized President Obama’s executive action on immigration in a “Meet the Press” appearance and said:
“There’s a process. We have a thing called the Constitution, and the Constitution doesn’t allow the chief executive just to make up law.”
This ignores the fact that since 1956 there have been at least 39 instances where presidents have used their executive authority to protect immigrants.
Yet Huckabee does support the DREAM Act and said “you don’t punish a child for something his parents did.” He has defended his backing for a Kansas in-state tuition bill for undocumented immigrants, which was introduced in the Kansas House in 2006 but ultimately failed.
Fiorina, Carson and Huckabee are joining an increasingly crowded field for the GOP nomination; however they have yet to distinguish themselves as particularly visionary on the issue of immigration.
Photos by Gage Skidmore.
FILED UNDER: Carly Fiorina, Dr. Ben Carson, Election 2016, featured, GOP Immigration, Mike Huckabee, Republicans