What Do The Candidates Think?
AS WE HEAD into the 2012 Presidential elections immigration remains a prominent issue that both President Obama and Mitt Romney address on a regular basis. It looks like immigration may be a pivotal point in the presidential race. It is clear that President Obama and Governor Romney have differing ideas on how immigration policy should be addressed in our country. So what are their positions on key immigration issues?
On June 15 President Obama issued an executive order calling on immigration officials to grant deportation deferrals to immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. While differed action is not a path to citizenship, the executive order allows immigrant youth to apply for work permits, driver’s licenses, and college tuition help.
Deferred action helps many of the same immigrants who would benefit from the DREAM Act, of which Obama is a strong supporter. Although not passed into law, the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors) would provide conditional permanent residency to illegal residents who were brought into the United States as minors, pursue an education or military service, live in the country continuously for at least five years, and have good moral character.
In removals, the Obama administration has also directed immigration agents to use discretion in removal proceedings to focus on individuals who pose a national security or public safety risk, including immigrants convicted of crimes, violent criminals, and felons. The government has deported a record number of illegal immigrants during the Obama administration.
The Obama administration is increasingly targeting employers of illegal immigrants rather than the illegal employees. The administration has largely forgone high-publicity factory raids in favor of longer-term investigations. President Obama has voiced concern over the accuracy and dependability of the E-verify program. E-verify allows employers to compare information from an employee’s Employment Eligibility Verification Form I-9 to data from government records to verify whether a new employee has work authorization. Obama states his intention to improve legal ways for agricultural employers to hire the workers and improve procedures for employers who seek to hire foreign workers for jobs if US workers are not available.
Romney has stated that he is committed to federal immigration reform. He has stressed the importance of enforcement including an increase in border patrol agents, completing a high-tech fence and implementing an improved exit-verification system, among others.
Romney has suggested changes that are designed to help American businesses including improving the temporary-worker visa program by making the system for bringing in temporary agricultural workers and other seasonal workers functional for both employers and immigrants and revising the cap on non-agricultural temporary worker visas.
Romney also states the importance of allowing families to stay together including the spouses and children of green card holders. However, he does not favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently in the US. Romney has said he would veto the DREAM Act, but he indicates that he would replace Obama’s executive order by offering a path to legal residency (not to citizenship) to illegal immigrants in the armed forces but not to illegal students who go to college.
Romney intends to pursue an immigration policy designed to maximize the nation’s economic potential. He would ask Congress to raise the caps on visas for highly skilled immigrants, particularly to overcome shortages in the sciences and technology. Romney also states that under his administration every foreign student who obtains an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering at a US university should be granted permanent residency.
Romney supports the E-verify system and has voiced praise for Arizona which requires all companies in the state to use E-Verify to check employees’ work authorization. Mitt Romney states he will develop an effective, mandatory employment verification system that allows employers to ensure that all employees are legal, thus discouraging illegal immigrants from coming to the US to seek jobs.
The above information is given for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Please consult with an attorney to discuss the particulars of your own case. Stephen Ure can be contacted at (619) 235-5400, or email: email@example.com
This article was first published in October 2012