CNN 2015 GOP primary debate: on Immigration


Ben Carson: Turn off the spigots, then allow agricultural guest workers

Q: This week, Dr. Carson proposed giving undocumented immigrants a six- month grace period to pay back taxes then to let them become guest workers and only to deport people who failed to do that.

CARSON: Not exactly what I said.

I was just reading the Wall Street Journal quote, but please tell us.

CARSON: After we seal the borders, after we turn off the spigot that dispenses all the goodies so we don't have people coming in here, including employment, that people who had a pristine record, we should consider allowing them to become guest workers, primarily in the agricultural sphere, because that's the place where Americans don't seem to want to work. And they have a six-month period to do that. If they don't do it within that time period, then they become illegal, and as illegals, they will be treated as such.

Q [to Cruz]: Does that fit your definition of amnesty?

CRUZ: I like and respect Ben Carson. I'll let him talk about his own plans.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Ben Carson: We have the ability to build a border wall, but not the will

I was in Arizona a few weeks ago at the border. The fences there were not manned. So, I don't see any purpose in having that. Yuma County, Arizona. They stop 97 percent of the illegal immigrants through there. They put in a double fence with a road so that there was quick access by the enforcement people. If we don't seal the border, the rest of this stuff clearly doesn't matter. We have the ability to do it, we don't have the will to do it.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Bobby Jindal: Criminalize sanctuary cities & jail their mayors

SANTORUM: Just about everybody in this field supports some pathway to citizenship. , Governor Jindal supports some sort of amnesty at some point in time or another.

JINDAL: We need to secure the border, period. We don't need a comprehensive plan; we don't need an 1,000-page bill, like the Gang of Eight; we don't need amnesty. Everybody in D.C. talks about it. We need to get it done. As president, I'll get it done in six months. It won't be perfect, but we can get it done.

SANTORUM: Well, just because you don't call it amnesty doesn't mean that [it's not; you're] allowing people who broke the law to stay in America.

JINDAL: I'm not for amnesty. I've never been for amnesty, will never be for amnesty. Secure the border. I've also said we need to put an end to sanctuary cities. It's not enough to defund them; I think we need to criminalize, accuse and jail those mayors and councilman as accessories for the crimes committed by people who shouldn't be here in the first place.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Bobby Jindal: I've never been for amnesty

What I've said consistently is secure the border. I've said after that is done, the American people will deal with the folks that are here pragmatically and compassionately. I'm not for amnesty. I've never been for amnesty, will never be for amnesty. I've also said we need to put an end to sanctuary cities. It's not enough to defund them; I think we need to criminalize, accuse & jail those mayors and councilman as accessories for the crimes committed by people who shouldn't be here in the first place
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Carly Fiorina: People tired of just talking about immigration for 25 years

FIORINA: Immigration did not come up in 2016 [only] because Mr. Trump brought it up. We talked about it in 2012; we talked about it in 2008; we talked about it in 2004. We have been talking about it for 25 years. This is why people are tired of politicians.

BUSH: Look, I wrote a book about this 4 years ago. I laid out a comprehensive approach for immigration reform.

TRUMP: We are spending $200 billion a year on maintaining what we have. We will move them out. The good ones will come back.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Carly Fiorina: 14th Amendment allows birthright citizenship; do something

As to birthright citizenship, the truth is, you can't just wave your hands and say "the 14th Amendment is gonna go away." It will take an extremely arduous vote in Congress, followed by two-thirds of the states, and if that doesn't work to amend the Constitution, then it is a long, arduous process in court. And meanwhile, what will continue to go on is what has gone on for 25 years. What has happened? Nothing. The border remains insecure. The legal immigration system remains broken.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Chris Christie: Secure border with wall & electronics; but no mass deporting

For 15,000 people a day to be deported every day for two years is an undertaking that almost none of us could accomplish. What we need to do is to secure our border, and we need to do it with more than a wall. We need to use electronics, we need to use drones, we need to use FBI, DEA, and ATF, and we need to take the fingerprint of every person who comes into this country on a visa, and when they overstay their visa, we need to tap them on the shoulder, and say, "It's time for you to go.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Donald Trump: We're only country dumb enough for birthright citizenship

Q: You say that babies born in the United States to undocumented immigrants should not any longer get automatic American citizenship; isn't that in the 14th Amendment?

TRUMP: The 14th Amendment says very, very clearly to a lot of great legal scholars that it is wrong. It can be corrected with an act of Congress, but probably doesn't even need that. A woman gets pregnant. She's nine months, she walks across the border, she has the baby in the United States, and we take care of the baby for 85 years? I don't think so. Mexico--and almost every other country anywhere in the world--doesn't have that. We're the only ones dumb enough, stupid enough to have it. And this is not just with respect to Mexico--people are coming from Asia to have babies here, and all of a sudden, we have to take care of the babies for the life of the baby. The 14th Amendment [should] go through the Supreme Court, but there are a lot of great legal scholars that say that is not correct.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Donald Trump: Illegal immigrants populate many criminal gangs

[First], I want to build a wall. Second of all, we have a lot of really bad dudes in this country from outside. They go, if I get elected. Gangs all over the place. We have a country of laws, they're going to go out, and they'll come back if they deserve to come back. If they've had a bad record, if they've been arrested, if they've been in jail, they're never coming back. Right now, we don't have a country, we don't have a border, and we're going to do something about it.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Donald Trump: This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish

We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English. And I think that where he was, and the way it came out didn't sound right to me. We have to have assimilation--to have a country, we have to have assimilation. I'm not the first one to say this. We've had many people over the years, for many, many years, saying the same thing. This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

George Pataki: Deport only criminal aliens; but end sanctuary cities

We all agree you have to secure the border. We have to make sure that people come to America legally. That has got to be step one.

Step two is, we have to stop releasing criminals into the communities. If you are charged with a crime as an illegal alien, you should either be in jail or be deported. You should not released, as the Obama administration has done. Of course, we should outlaw sanctuary cities and hold them responsible.

But we can't ignore 11 million people who are here. What are we going to do? We're not going to send them back, despite somebody saying we're going to drag kids out of classrooms and send them back.

What I would do is require those who want to have legal status, not citizenship, come forward, acknowledg

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

George Pataki: Birthright citizenship is ok; don't deport those kids

Q: Republicans are debating birthright citizenship, the policy of granting citizenship to every baby born in this country, even if born to undocumented immigrants. Why you think we should preserve birthright?

PATAKI: I don't think we should tell children born in America that we're going to send them back. The way to avoid that is to have an intelligent immigration policy where we know who is coming here, why they are coming here, so we don't have this flood of people coming for the wrong reasons

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Jeb Bush: When students ask questions in Spanish, I answer in Spanish

Q [to Trump]: You have criticized Governor Bush for speaking Spanish on the campaign trail. You said, "He should really set an example by speaking English in the United States." What's wrong with speaking Spanish?

TRUMP: We have a country, where, to assimilate, you have to speak English. I'm not the first one to say this: This is a country where we speak English, not Spanish.

BUSH: Well, I've been speaking English here tonight, and I'll keep speaking English. But the simple fact is, if a high school kid asks me a question in Spanish, I'm going to show respect and answer that question in Spanish. Even though they do speak English, and even though they embrace American values.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Jeb Bush: My wife is Mexican and she wants a wall on Mexican border

My wife is a Mexican-American. She's an American by choice. She loves this country as much as anybody in this room, and she wants a secure border. But she wants to embrace the traditional American values that make us special and make us unique. We're at a crossroads right now. Are we going to take the Reagan approach, the hopeful optimistic approach, the approach that says you come to our country legally, you pursue your dreams with a vengeance, you create opportunities for all of us?
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Lindsey Graham: We can't deport 11M illegals, but we can start

Q: Governor Pataki says we shouldn't "tell children born in America that we're going to send them back." Why do you think Governor Pataki is wrong?

GRAHAM: We're not going to deport 11 million people here illegally, but we'll start with felons, and off they go. And, as to the rest, you can stay, but you got to learn our language. Speaking English is a good thing. You got to pay taxes, you got to pay a fine, you got to get in the back of the line. You've got to secure your border or they'll keep coming. If you don't control who gets a job that never ends. As to birthright citizenship, once we clean up this mess, in the future, prospectively, I'm going to look at the following. There are people buying tourist visas that go to resorts with maternity wards with the expressed purpose of having children here in America. Yeah, I'd like to stop that in the future.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Lindsey Graham: We need more legal immigration

In 1950, there were 16 workers for every retiree. How many are there today? There are three. In 20 years, there's going to be two, and you're going to have 80 million baby boomers retiring and wanting a Social Security check and their Medicare bills paid. We're going to need more legal immigration. Let's pick people from all over the world on our terms, not just somebody from Mexico. Thurmond had four kids after he was 67, if you're not willing to do that, we've got to come up with a new system.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Marco Rubio: My family are all immigrants; but no comprehensive solution

My family is immigrants. My neighbors are immigrants. My in-laws are immigrants. America doesn't have one immigration problem, it has three. First, we have people coming illegally. Second, we have a legal immigration system that no longer works. It is built on the basis of whether you have a relative here instead of merit. And third, we have 11 million people who are here illegally. We must deal with all these problems. We cannot deal with all three in one piece of legislation.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Marco Rubio: Replace family-based system with economic contribution

First, we must secure our border with a wall. We also need to have an entry/exit tracking system. 40% of the people who come here illegally come legally, and then overstay the visa. We need a mandatory e-verify system. Step two would be to modernize our legal immigration system so you come to America on the basis of what you can contribute economically, not whether or not simply you have a relative living here. If you're a criminal, obviously, you will not be able to stay.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Rand Paul: We need a Supreme Court case on birthright citizenship

Q [to Trump]: Where do you stand on the issue of birthright citizenship?

TRUMP: I believe that a reading of the 14th Amendment allows you to have an interpretation where this is not legal and where it can't be done. I've seen both sides, but some of the greatest scholars agree with me, without having to go through Congress. If you do go through Congress, you can absolutely solve the problem.

PAUL: Donald Trump has a bit of a point here. The case that was decided around 1900 was, people had a green card, were here legally, and they said that their children were citizens. There's never been a direct Supreme Court case on people who were here illegally, whether or not their kids are citizens. So it hasn't really been completely adjudicated. The 14th Amendment says that "those who are here and under the jurisdiction." The original author of the 14th Amendment said on the Senate floor that this was applying to slaves, and did not specifically apply to others.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Rick Santorum: 35M immigrants over past 20 years hold down American wages

Just about everybody in this field supports some pathway to citizenship. This debate should not be about what we're going to do with someone who's here illegally. This debate should be about what's in the best interest of Americans? What's in the best interest of America is to look at wages, look at employment. 70 to 90% of people who've come into this country, 35 million over the last 20 years, are wage earners that are holding wages down, taking jobs away from America.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Rick Santorum: All new American job growth has gone to immigrants

The reason that you're seeing the angst and the anger out there and the reason this issue has taken off is because workers in America know that their wages are being undermined. From the year 2000 to the year 2014, there're 5.7 million net new jobs created. What % of those jobs are held by people who weren't born here? The answer is all of them.
Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

Rick Santorum: I had a comprehensive plan in 2006

SANTORUM: I did have a plan in 2006. I introduced a plan called "A Comprehensive Border Security Bill," which did, in fact, put the resources to build the fencing, and deploy the troops, and the technology necessary.

GRAHAM: What do you do with the 11 million?

SANTORUM: 40 to 60% are here on visa overstays. We have a government that doesn't tell them to return home. The point is that I had a bill...

GRAHAM: That went nowhere.

Source: 2015 Republican two-tiered primary undercard debate on CNN Sep 16, 2015

  • The above quotations are from CNN Two-Tier 2015 GOP primary debate
    First Tier: Eleven candidates by polls
    Second Tier: Four other Republicans
    .
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by Carly Fiorina on Immigration.
  • Click here for more quotes by Donald Trump on Immigration.
2016 Presidential contenders on Immigration:
  Republicans:
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Carly Fiorina(CA)
Gov.Jim Gilmore(VA)
Sen.Lindsey Graham(SC)