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John Kerry on Immigration

Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President


Temporary workers ok, and earned amnesty ok

Q: What should we do about the 8,000 people cross our borders illegally every day?

BUSH: We're increasing the border security of the US. There ought to be a temporary worker card that allows a willing worker and a willing employer, so long as there's not an American willing to do that job, to join up. I don't believe we ought to have amnesty. I don't think we ought to reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. If they want to become a citizen, they can stand in line, too. And here is where my opponent and I differ. In September 2003, he supported amnesty for illegal aliens.

KERRY: We need a guest-worker program. We need is to crack down on illegal hiring. And thirdly, we need an earned-legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of the shadows.

Source: [Xref Bush] Third Bush-Kerry Debate, in Tempe Arizona Oct 13, 2004

A guest-worker program alone won't solve the problem

BUSH: I don't believe we ought to have amnesty. I don't think we ought to reward illegal behavior. There are plenty of people standing in line to become a citizen. And we ought not to crowd these people ahead of them in line. If they want to become a citizen, they can stand in line, too. Kerry supported amnesty for illegal aliens.

KERRY: The borders are more leaking today than they were before 9/11. We haven't done what we need to do to toughen up our borders, and I will. We need a guest-worker program, but if it's all we have, it's not going to solve the problem. We need to crack down on illegal hiring. It's against the law in the US to hire people illegally, and we ought to be enforcing that law properly. We need an earned-legalization program for people who have been here for a long time, stayed out of trouble, got a job, paid their taxes, and their kids are American. We got to start moving them toward full citizenship, out of the shadows.

Source: [Xref Bush[ Third Bush-Kerry debate, in Tempe AZ Oct 13, 2004

Restore immigrant benefits lost in 1996 welfare reform

John Kerry supports efforts to restore benefits to legal immigrants. The 1996 welfare reform law made most legal immigrants, including those already in the United States, ineligible for welfare, health care and other essential programs. In the years since, some of these benefits have been restored and John Kerry remains committed to fighting for the full restoration of benefits for legal immigrants.
Source: Campaign website, JohnKerry.com, "Issues" Mar 21, 2004

Expedited citizenship for members of the Armed Forces

John Kerry believes the naturalization process for legal permanent residents serving in the Armed Forces should be expedited, the naturalization filing fee should be waived, and armed service members should be allowed to naturalize overseas. More than 37,000 legal permanent residents serve in the military nationally.
Source: Campaign website, JohnKerry.com, "Issues" Mar 21, 2004

Earned legalization for immigrants to keep families together

Q: What about immigration reform?

KERRY: We need immigration reform. But the president's plan is really a plan to exploit workers in America. It's not a real immigration reform plan. What I want to do is have a full immigration reform plan that involves earned legalization, involves the technology and support we need on the border, work with President Fox in order to have a legitimate guest worker program. And finally, we need to crack down on those people in America who hire people illegally and exploit workers in the US.

Q: Earned legalization means people who came here illegally could work toward legal status.

KERRY: Sure. Absolutely.

Q: Why would that be fair to all of the people who came legally and are waiting in line to become citizens?

KERRY: I don't think it is a good thing if they are working, if they've paid their taxes, if they've stayed out of trouble to start separating families and destroy the good work they've done through those years to be part of our country.

Source: Democratic 2004 primary debate at USC Feb 26, 2004

Earned legalization for undocumented immigrants

Q: Should it become easier for undocumented foreign workers in the US to gain legal immigration status?

A: I support an earned legalization proposal that will allow undocumented immigrants to legalize their status if they have been in the United States for a certain amount of time, have been working, and can pass a background check.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, "Immigration" Jan 25, 2004

Amnesty to anyone here over 5 or 6 years

Q: Would you support legalizing undocumented immigrants in this country?

KERRY: Absolutely. I supported and was prepared to vote for amnesty from 1986. And it is essential to have immigration reform. Anyone who has been in this country for five or six years, who's paid their taxes, who has stayed out of trouble, ought to be able to translate into an American citizenship immediately, not waiting.

Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Voted NO on allowing more foreign workers into the U.S. for farm work.

Vote to create a national registry containing names of U.S. workers who want to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work, and to require the Attorney General to allow more foreign workers into the U.S. for farm work under H-2A visas.
Bill S.2260 ; vote number 1998-233 on Jul 23, 1998

Voted NO on visas for skilled workers.

This bill expanded the Visa program for skilled workers.
Status: Bill Passed Y)78; N)20; NV)2
Reference: The American Competitiveness Act; Bill S. 1723 ; vote number 1998-141 on May 18, 1998

Voted NO on limit welfare for immigrants.

This amendment would have restored food stamp benefits to the children of legal immigrants
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)59; N)41
Reference: Motion to table Kennedy Amdt #429; Bill S.947 ; vote number 1997-111 on Jun 24, 1997

Other candidates on Immigration: John Kerry on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts