Immigration

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Democrat website

Here is the Democrat Platform on immigration. Below are the parts of it that tell how Democrats want immigration law changed, and that tell what Democrats believe about immigration.

Democrat goals

National/Border security. To "protect our national security..." "...cracking down on illegal immigration at the border..." "...a more permanent solution that keeps families together and our country safe..." "...the federal government (should) secure our borders..."

Citizenship for contributors "...provide a fair pathway to citizenship for those contributing to our society..." "...people who are living in the United States illegally....Undocumented workers who are in good standing must admit that they broke the law, pay taxes and a penalty, learn English, and get right with the law before they can get in line to earn their citizenship." "...create a road map that allows immigrants to become full-fledged citizens." "...deportation relief for up to five million undocumented immigrants who are contributing to their communities..."

Prosecute employers. "Employers who exploit undocumented workers undermine American workers, and they have to be held accountable." "...hold employers accountable for whom they hire."

Dreamers. "(Pass)...the DREAM Act, legislation ensuring that young people who want to contribute fully to our society and serve our country are able to become legal residents and ultimately citizens....children who came here through no fault of their own and are pursuing an education. ... youth who came to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, grew up as Americans and are poised to make a real contribution to our country."

Families. "...streamline the process of legal immigration for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, supporting family reunification as a priority..."

Deport criminals. "...prioritiz(e) the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat..." "...ensur(e) that immigrants who live here pay taxes."

Specifically: "(Pass) a comprehensive immigration reform bill similar to the one that Senate Democrats passed in the last Congress.... grounded in the principles of responsibility and accountability..."

Democrat beliefs

"Democrats believe that comprehensive immigration reform is essential to continuing the tradition of innovation that immigrants have brought to the American economy and to ensuring a level playing field for American workers."

"As President Obama said when he announced his executive order, “we were strangers once, too.” Democrats believe that immigrants add to the richness of our society,..."

"Our prosperity depends on an immigration system that reflects our values and meets America's needs."

"Today, the Southwest border is more secure than at any time in the past 20 years. Unlawful crossings are at a 40-year low, and the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its history."

" Immigrant youth—who grow up attending our schools, churches, and places of recreation—come to this nation with the same desires and ideals the forefathers had; liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness.

Your help is welcome to update this section as the platform is updated; and/or to add information from other Democrat sources.

Republican website

Here is the Republican Platform on immigration. Below are the parts of it that tell how Republicans want immigration law changed, and that tell what Democrats believe about immigration.

Republican Goals.

Import graduates and inventors. "We can accelerate the process of restoring our domestic economy-and reclaiming this country’s traditional position of dominance in international trade-by a policy of strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations. Highly educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products. In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose. As in past generations, we should encourage the world’s innovators and inventors to create our common future and their permanent homes here in the United States. 2012 Platform

Border security. "Our highest priority...is to secure the rule of law both at our borders and at ports of entry."

National Identification/E-Verify. "We support the mandatory use of the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (S.A.V.E.) program – an internet-based system that verifies the lawful presence of applicants – prior to the granting of any State or federal government entitlements or IRS refunds. We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program – an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees – must be made mandatory nationwide." "When Americans need jobs, it is absolutely essential that we protect them from illegal labor in the workplace. In addition, it is why we demand tough penalties for those who practice identity theft, deal in fraudulent documents, and traffic in human beings."

Path to Citizenship. "...we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. Granting amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking."

Sanctuary Cities. "...a Republican Administration and Congress will partner with local governments through cooperative enforcement agreements in Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act to make communities safer for all and will consider, in light of both current needs and historic practice, the utility of a legal and reliable source of foreign labor where needed through a new guest worker program." "In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law." "State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately."

Self Deportation. "We will create humane procedures to encourage illegal aliens to return home voluntarily, while enforcing the law against those who overstay their visas."

English. "...while we encourage the retention and transmission of heritage tongues, we support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the educational and economic advancement of – not only immigrant communities – but also our nation as a whole."

Fence. "The double-layered fencing on the border that was enacted by Congress in 2006, but never completed, must finally be built."

Deport Criminals. "...we support Republican legislation to give the Department of Homeland Security long-term detention authority to keep dangerous but undeportable aliens off our streets, expedite expulsion of criminal aliens, and make gang membership a deportable offense.


Republican Beliefs.

"America is proud to be a nation of immigrants. Today’s legal immigrants make vital contributions to every aspect of our nation by enriching our culture and strengthening our economy."

"The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker. Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of our national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world. Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects U.S. workers. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States."

"We recognize that for most of those seeking entry into this country, the lack of respect for the rule of law in their homelands has meant economic exploitation and political oppression by corrupt elites. In this country, the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more than one million immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year.

Your help is welcome to update this section as the platform is updated, and to correct any errors or omissions

Positions of individual candidates

Your help is welcome to add the quotes/positions of individual candidates for all offices.

Hillary Clinton

Ted Cruz

Bernie Sanders

Donald Trump

Comparison

This section is for comparing the legislative goals and beliefs of the political parties on this issue. We will list them side by side without challenging them, yet, so we an isolate where the differences lie, and which facts we need to research. Here we may also make observations about goals stated so generally that we have questions what they would look like, and observations about what facts were not addressed which perhaps should have been.

Your contribution is welcome. Sign your contribution with 4 tildes (~~~~).

The simplest way to contribute is on the "Discussion" page, which is like posting a comment. That page is also appropriate if your point is too general to apply to any specific point on this page.

To clarify the comparisons already noted here, you may edit the text directly. To dispute the comparisons already noted here, contribute after the point you dispute, indenting your paragraph by starting it with a colon (:), and then a phrase in bold summarizing your point. If your point takes much longer than a paragraph, or if it does not dispute a comparison here but is a new comparison not already noted here, make it a new subsection but putting 4 equals signs on either side of your heading.

Comparison of the Specific Legislative Goals

National/Border Security

Republican and Democrat statements about their vision for national or border security are too general to inform us if they are different. Democrats say "...the federal government (should) secure our borders..." while Republicans agree that we should “secure the rule of law both at our borders and at ports of entry." Neither platform defines, directly, how to measure border security so we can tell when we have it. Neither platform defines the standard by which we can know that we don’t already have it.

However, the Democratic Platform refers readers to S744 for a glimpse of details which Democrats support, and that bill, passed by the Senate in 2013 but not passed by the House, has criteria for determining when the border is “secure”.

Sec. 3. EFFECTIVE DATE TRIGGERS (a)(2)...[the DHS must] maintain an effectiveness rate of 90 percent...(4) the percentage calculated by dividing the number of apprehensions and turn backs...by the total number of illegal entries....

Unexplained is how to know the number of illegal entries where there were no apprehensions.

S744 requires government to do several things without any attempt to monitor whether they actually work by observing any correlation between the new construction and bureaucracy, and any actual reduction in crossings between legal checkpoints.

...the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must certify that the Comprehensive Southern Border Security Strategy is deployed and operational, 700 miles of fencing is complete, 38,405 border patrol agents are deployed, and the E-Verify employment verification system is in place.... (ImmigrationPolicy.org)

Prosecute Employers

Although Republicans and Democrats use different words to describe what employers would experience under their administration, the words are too general to know if employers would experience any difference.

Democrats say "Employers who exploit undocumented workers undermine American workers, and they have to be held accountable." "...hold employers accountable for whom they hire." Republicans say “We insist upon enforcement at the workplace through verification systems so that jobs can be available to all legal workers. Use of the E-verify program – an internet-based system that verifies the employment authorization and identity of employees – must be made mandatory nationwide."

Citizenship for those who contribute

Democrats and Republicans both say they want a path to citizenship to immigrants who will contribute to the U.S. Neither platform says how many contributors they want to allow, except that S744 caps total additional immigration at about another million. The Republican platform identifies “contributors” as STEM college graduates, just as the Democrat-affirmed S744 does.

Democrats want a "...fair pathway to citizenship for those contributing to our society..." "...deportation relief for up to five million undocumented immigrants who are contributing to their communities..."

Republicans want "strategic immigration, granting more work visas to holders of advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math from other nations. Highly educated immigrants can assist in creating new services and products. In the same way, foreign students who graduate from an American university with an advanced degree in science, technology, engineering or math should be encouraged to remain here and contribute to economic prosperity and job creation. Highly skilled, English-speaking, and integrated into their communities, they are too valuable a resource to lose. As in past generations, we should encourage the world’s innovators and inventors to create our common future and their permanent homes here in the United States.”

Families kept together

The Republican platform indicates no interest in keeping any more families together, while the Democrat platform says we should "...streamline the process of legal immigration for immediate relatives of U.S. citizens, supporting family reunification as a priority..." This could be a way of describing what S744 would have done, by converting applications for spouses and children of legal residents from “preference” visas into “immediate relative petitions”.

However, S744 would have eliminated visas for siblings. The Democrat platform endorses S744, and doesn’t tell us how much of families ought to be kept together.

Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio, one of the authors of S744, has said in Iowa speeches that we should welcome more STEM graduates, but we shouldn’t take in so many family-based visas. He didn’t break it down to explain if eliminating sibling applications is the cutback he means. In other words, without more specifics from either Republicans or Democrats, it is impossible to know if their legislative goals are different.

====Path to citizenship/Amnesty==== Democrats want a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants: "...people who are living in the United States illegally....Undocumented workers who are in good standing must admit that they broke the law, pay taxes and a penalty, learn English, and get right with the law before they can get in line to earn their citizenship." "...create a road map that allows immigrants to become full-fledged citizens."

The Republican platform says: "...we oppose any form of amnesty for those who, by intentionally violating the law, disadvantage those who have obeyed it. Granting amnesty only rewards and encourages more law breaking."

The Republican platform is too vague to tell us if Republicans want anything different. It opposes “amnesty”, but that word is so subjective that Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, during televised debates, have each said they are against “amnesty” and have accused the other of being for it. Trump says he is against “amnesty”, but he is for “touchbacks”, (where the undocumented immigrant must return to his land of birth but then may reapply), which Cruz calls “amnesty”.

"Amnesty means to reward lawbreakers with the object of their crime", declared Congressman Steve King when he filled in July 4, 2007, for WHO talk show host Jan Mickelson. But is it then “amnesty” to convict a criminal, and then let him out of jail after he has served his sentence? Because King thinks it is “amnesty” to allow a convicted undocumented immigrant, even after paying a fine and serving jail time, to ever be allowed back in the country legally.

Senator Arlen Specter was frustrated by this floating definition of “amnesty”. Today's Democratic platform description of a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants could describe the Immigration Compromise of 2007, co-chaired by Iowa Republican Senator Grassley and Massachusetts Democrat Senator Ted Kennedy. That bill included jail time and a fine.

Specter, on the floor of the Senate June 27, 2007, said: "I have grave reservations about punitive measures which do not have some substantive meaning, but that concession has been made to try to avoid the amnesty claim. We have gone about as far as we can go. Amnesty, like beauty, may be in the eye of the beholder. "

About the same time Iowa Senator Grassley indicated the term “amnesty” is so fluid that some stretch it to describe a “guest worker program”:

Grassley: “That is why I am weighing very heavily the issue of what we do with amnesty or what other people who don't like the word 'amnesty' would say is earned citizenship, guest worker program, those sorts of things that are covering up really what we are doing. I say if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is a duck. If it looks like amnesty, it is amnesty.” (Congressional Record, page S8591)

Because of the widespread use of this word “amnesty” to describe immigration policy without widespread consensus on what the word means, it is impossible to know, from their platforms, whether Republicans and Democrats differ in their legislative goals for undocumented immigrants.

Criminals

Republican and Democrat positions are indistinguishable, except that Republicans want the legislation to be “Republican legislation”: "...we support Republican legislation to give the Department of Homeland Security long-term detention authority to keep dangerous but undeportable aliens off our streets, expedite expulsion of criminal aliens, and make gang membership a deportable offense.” Democrats: "...prioritiz(e) the deportation of criminals who endanger our communities over the deportation of immigrants who do not pose a threat..." "...ensur(e) that immigrants who live here pay taxes."

Dreamers

Finally, a difference! Republicans, neither in presidential candidate debates, nor in their platform, mention the “dreamers” (from an acronym describing legislation to help them) who were brought here as children and thus are not legally responsible for having come here. Democrats say in their platform: “....the DREAM Act, legislation ensuring that young people who want to contribute fully to our society and serve our country are able to become legal residents and ultimately citizens....children who came here through no fault of their own and are pursuing an education. ... youth who came to the United States as children, through no fault of their own, grew up as Americans and are poised to make a real contribution to our country."

Sanctuary Cities

Only Republicans are against them: ...a Republican Administration and Congress will partner with local governments through cooperative enforcement agreements in Section 287g of the Immigration and Nationality Act to make communities safer for all and will consider, in light of both current needs and historic practice, the utility of a legal and reliable source of foreign labor where needed through a new guest worker program." "In order to restore the rule of law, federal funding should be denied to sanctuary cities that violate federal law and endanger their own citizens, and federal funding should be denied to universities that provide in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens, in open defiance of federal law." "State efforts to reduce illegal immigration must be encouraged, not attacked. The pending Department of Justice lawsuits against Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah must be dismissed immediately."

English

R: "...while we encourage the retention and transmission of heritage tongues, we support English as the nation’s official language, a unifying force essential for the educational and economic advancement of – not only immigrant communities – but also our nation as a whole."

Comparison of the Specific Beliefs

Belief: Immigration benefits citizens

Both parties agree.

“Democrats believe that immigrants add to the richness of our society,..." "As President Obama said when he announced his executive order, 'we were strangers once, too.'” "Our prosperity depends on an immigration system that reflects our values and meets America's needs."

Republicans: "America is proud to be a nation of immigrants. Today’s legal immigrants make vital contributions to every aspect of our nation by enriching our culture and strengthening our economy." "The greatest asset of the American economy is the American worker. Just as immigrant labor helped build our country in the past, today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of our national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world.

Belief: immigrants help our technology

"Democrats believe that immigration reform is essential to continuing the tradition of innovation that immigrants have brought to the American economy and to ensuring a level playing field for American workers."

The Republican platform is silent about innovation among immigrants, but the most hard core restrictionists have been saying since 2011 that we need to welcome more STEM graduates. How many more, is a topic avoided in virtually all national discussion of the subject by either party, which leaves us without that measure of any difference between Democrats and Republicans. Any numbers in S744 is an unclear guide to any difference, since its authorship included senators of both parties.

Belief

Dreamers have the same values as citizens Republicans are silent about this, but the Democrat platform says "Immigrant youth—who grow up attending our schools, churches, and places of recreation—come to this nation with the same desires and ideals the forefathers had; liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness.” Republicans have mixed support for “Dreamers”. The first legislation for Dreamers was Republican, and many Republicans remain supportive, but now there seems more support among Democrats, although neither party has enough support to pass legislation when they have the majority.

Belief: The Border is Secure

Democrats: "Today, the Southwest border is more secure than at any time in the past 20 years. Unlawful crossings are at a 40-year low, and the Border Patrol is better staffed than at any time in its history."

The Republican platform doesn't say that, and no Republican presidential candidate suggests it is true. However, Republican campaign rhetoric has not suggested any objective measure by which it may be established whether the border is or is not secure. All we know for sure is that Republicans believe more must be done. But that is not different than S744 presumes, which Democrats support.

Belief: What makes illegals a threat is that they are unidentified.

The following Republican statement lists only one reason undocumented immigrants are harmful to our nation: the fact that they are “unidentified”. This is an ironic reason since the easiest thing in the world would be for U.S. policy to lift its quotas which make it impossible for them to register and live here legally. Here is the statement:

“Today’s legal immigrants are making vital contributions in every aspect of our national life. Their industry and commitment to American values strengthens our economy, enriches our culture, and enables us to better understand and more effectively compete with the rest of the world) Illegal immigration undermines those benefits and affects U.S. workers. In an age of terrorism, drug cartels, human trafficking, and criminal gangs, the presence of millions of unidentified persons in this country poses grave risks to the safety and the sovereignty of the United States."

The Democrat platform does not list any harm from undocumented immigration.

Belief: Our immigration policy is fair to all immigrants; it is 'rule of law'.

Republican: "We recognize that for most of those seeking entry into this country, the lack of respect for the rule of law in their homelands has meant economic exploitation and political oppression by corrupt elites. In this country, the rule of law guarantees equal treatment to every individual, including more than one million immigrants to whom we grant permanent residence every year.

Questions we should ask but don't

Are current immigration quota levels right for citizens?

This is a preview of the article at Setting Immigration Quotas - the Mystery of the Wages, where there is much more detail:

What is the science that documents that our immigration quotas are the magic number, below which all immigration blesses us and above which all immigration destroys us? Are quota levels ever questioned?
Millions are here illegally who would gladly have come legally had our quotas not denied them any “line” to “get in”. But we put those quotas so high up on a pedestal that we equate them with “Rule of Law”, in the sense that those who come in violation of them are said to “violate the Rule of Law”, so we must enforce our quotas with all the energy appropriate to saving our great land from the breakdown of the Rule of Law.
Much national discussion lays the blame squarely at the feet of the “illegals”, as if those immigrants had a choice between coming legally or coming illegally and they chose to come illegally. The national discussion is generally devoid of any realization that for most “illegals”, there is no “line” for them to get in to come legally since the average wait time is well over a lifetime, and many must come quickly to save their lives or the lives of their families. No blame is alleged or even imagined for quotas. Almost no one questions whether the levels they are set at are perfect, and fewer question whether we should have any at all, any more than anyone seriously questions whether we should have air. Of course we should have air, and we should have just as much of it as we do. It cannot be the fault of quotas that millions are here illegally, any more than it can be the fault of air that millions have trouble breathing.
Missing from the national discussion is any realization that quotas are set without reference to any measure of how many immigrants we can take in before their blessing to us becomes a threat to us and our nation. There isn't even hardly any national acknowledgment that we even have quotas, so many people don't even know quotas are the reason “illegals” don't just “get in line like everybody else”.
In fact, no such measure exists, or has ever been alleged to exist, or  has ever been proposed, or can exist.

For more details see Setting Immigration Quotas - the Mystery of the Wages.

Please add, here, what you know about the science of setting quotas at the optimum level for citizens.

Dave Leach R-IA BibleLover-musician-grandpa (talk) 16:15, 14 March 2016 (EDT)

Whose Expertise Inspired Our Immigration Laws?

(This section is summarized from Whose Expertise Inspired Our Immigration Laws?)

Who are the expert witnesses who advised Congress to create the scores of different visas with their thousands of requirements in the U.S. Code, agency regulations, and case law, that are too complicated to apply for without an immigration lawyer? What science persuaded Congress that is the best system for citizens?

It would be reasonable to assume Congress weighs heavily what economists say about the impact of immigration, since most of the claims that support today's immigration restrictions are economic claims. Viz., “They take jobs from citizens”, “they drive down our wages”, “they drive up our national debt”, “they deplete our welfare budgets”. The science, and the college major most focused on it, that is most qualified to investigate economic claims, is called Economics.

Because Americans trust people who have studied a subject most to best understand it, and because immigration restrictions are legitimized by claims about immigration's economic impact, voters would reasonably assume, and should want, Congress' immigration committees to pay more attention to experts who have studied economics than to those who have not.

But that is not the case.

(Continued at Whose Expertise Inspired Our Immigration Laws? Originally published at http://constitution.com/experts-making-immigration-law/)

Sorting out the Facts

Here is where we will begin examining the evidence for the various alleged facts, and how the outcome of this examination clarifies which legislative goals are most consistent with reality.

Interaction/Argument

Here we begin interacting with each other, responding to disagreement, and practicing focusing our scrutiny on the issue, not on each other. Here is where our character is tested, along with our commitment to seek the truth and to acknowledge it when evidence warrants. In the preceding sections there shouldn’t have been much controversy, but only a hopefully objective comparison of positions. So we could edit each other’s work and our amendments should be seen as friendly, But from here on, we need to be very careful about editing the arguments of others. We can freely ‘’add’’ our own arguments, but before we remove others’ contributions we need to be careful not to weaken their argument; the only legitimate reason to edit another’s argument would be to correct spellings, fix grammar, tighten the flow of thought, or remove redundancy (unnecessary words).

Argument One: XXX

Argument Two: XXX

Argument Three: XXX

===Argument Four: XXX===