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With the 2016 presidential race slightly more than a year away, it is time to begin looking at the policies many of these candidates promote, and how they would affect the nation as a whole should they be elected. Extreme focus should be placed on the Republican Party, as their stance recently has been harsh. It is a disappointing change and I personally hope will change. If not President Reagan’s 1986 Amnesty, I likely would not be in a U.S. citizen today. And I likely wouldn’t be an Immigration Attorney helping hundreds of people every year.So far, six candidates have formally announced they are running for the republican nomination, and there are another seven that are probably going to announce their candidacy any day now. Out of these 13 possibilities, there are four who have gathered attention.
Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush
These candidates are: Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush. We will cover each in more detail in future articles. Except for Bush, all of these candidates have formally entered the race for the 2016 Republican nomination, and Bush is expected to announce in June. Of these candidates, none of them have given a direct statement on immigration reform, but their previous speeches can shed some light on where they stand.
- Ted Cruz’s website highlights his immigrant heritage and recalls his father’s immigration from Cuba, but his warm feelings end there. Cruz calls President’s Obama’s Executive Actions, Executive Amnesty and argues it is unconstitutional. When voting on the S.744 the Bi-partisan Senate Bill for Comprehensive Immigration Reform, Cruz attempted to undermine it by prevented undocumented immigrants from ever getting citizenship. More recently, Cruz tried to withhold funding from the Department of Homeland Security, in order to stop President Obama’s executive actions on immigration. All in all, Cruz is staunchly anti-immigration, despite the rhetoric on his website.
- Despite Rand Paul’s stated desire to grow the Republican Party, it is pretty clear he doesn’t want immigrants in his vision of the Republican Party. Paul voted to end President Obama’s Executive Action. Paul also voted against S.7444 the bi-partisan comprehensive immigration reform bill which passed the Senate, but was never introduced in the House. Paul is more interested in what he describes as border security and enforcement of the law, then addressing immigration reform. More pointedly, Paul would amend the constitution to prevent undocumented immigrant’s children from receiving U.S. citizenship at birth. It is harder to go farther anti-immigration on the political spectrum than Sen Rand Paul.
- Marco Rubio in my opinion lacks character. He is one of the Gang of 8 that wrote S.744 Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. But when it wasn’t taken up in the House, Rubio took the politically expedient route and started to attack the bill. He has since said it shouldn’t be done in one piece of legislation. Rubio’s history, like mine, is tide to immigration. He can’t distance himself from it. It is part of who he is. When he stepped back from an issue he owned, he showed that his not a man of principle, but just another politician. His most recent speeches indicate he favors path to legal status (less than citizenship), rather than path to citizenship. It remains to be seen what his next view will be.
- And lastly, Jeb Bush is equally confusing positions on immigration. He has staunchly and emphatically supported immigration reform. But his book, immigration wars: Forging an American Solution, advocates for a path to legal status and not a path to citizenship. We will have to wait and see where he comes down on the issue once he announced he is running for President.
In the end, none of these candidates have given a concrete plan on what they would do, more than a year away from the election. For what we now, Jed Bush and Marco Rubio are in favor of some kind of immigration reform that gives undocumented immigrants some legal status. Senators Rand Paul and Ted Cruz have repeatedly voted against any kind of immigration reform. It is unlikely that Ted Cruz will change his view. In my opinion, it is just one of the reasons why it would take divine intervention, in my opinion, for Cruz to win this nomination. Sen. Paul may still take a more moderate stance, but he will have to explain his voting record.
Stay tuned for further analysis of candidate’s views in the weeks to come.
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