CNN/Salem GOP Debate: on Immigration


Lindsey Graham: Change comprehensive reform plan to account for terrorism

Q: In 2013 you were part of the leadership that pushed through comprehensive immigration reform. Many accused you of amnesty, and may have undermined your ability to get your message out on the war. Would you sponsor that bill again today?

GRAHAM: Well, the first thing I would do is make adjustments to reality [of ISIS and terrorism]. I would make changes to that bill in light of what I know today.

SANTORUM: Lindsey says this is a real war, until it comes to immigration. And, then, all of a sudden it's not such a real war.

Q: What would you do?

SANTORUM: We've created a magnet. We're attracting people. We have a policy that says amnesty. The world hears this, and knows that if they can come across this border, by and large, they're going to be able to stay. That has to change.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate Dec 15, 2015

Marco Rubio: In 2013, refugees were fleeing oppression; not like Syrians

Sen. Ted CRUZ [to Rubio]: One of the most troubling aspects of the Rubio-Schumer Gang of Eight Bill [comprehensive immigration reform of 2013] was that it gave President Obama blanket authority to admit refugees, including Syrian refugees, without mandating any background checks whatsoever. Now we've seen what happened in San Bernardino. When you are letting people in, when the FBI can't vet them, it puts American citizens at risk.

RUBIO: In 2013 we had never faced a crisis like the Syrian refugee crisis now. Up until that point, a refugee meant someone fleeing oppression, fleeing Communism like it is in my community. I think what's important for us to understand and there is a way forward on this issue that we and bring our country together on. And while I'm president I will do it. And it will begin by bringing illegal immigration under control and proving to the American people.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican debate on Syrian Refugees Dec 15, 2015

Marco Rubio: 2013 lessons: do necessities first; then get to citizenship

Q: You co-authored a bill with Democrats two years ago that allowed a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Do you still support that path to citizenship?

RUBIO: Here's what we learned in 2013. The American people don't trust the Federal Government to enforce our immigration laws, and we will not be able to do anything on immigration until we first prove to the American people that illegal immigration is under control. And we can do that. We know what it takes to do that. It takes at least 20,000 more additional border agents. It takes completing those 700 miles of fencing. It takes a mandatory e-verify system and a mandatory entry/exit tracking system to prevent overstays. After we have done that, the second thing we have to do is reform and modernize the legal immigration system. And after we have done those two things, I think the American people are gonna be reasonable with what do you do with someone who has been in this country for 10 or 12 years.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate Dec 15, 2015

Rand Paul: To defend against terrorism, we need to defend the border

PAUL: The one thing that might have stopped San Bernardino--that might have stopped 9/11--would have been stricter controls on those who came here. And Marco Rubio has opposed at every point increased border security for those who come to our country. On his Gang of Eight bill, he would have liberalized immigration, but he steadfastly opposed any new border security requirements for refugees or students. Last week, I introduced another bill saying we need more security, we need more scrutiny. Once again, Marco opposed this.

RUBIO: What he's pointing to is an amendment that only 10 people voted for. You know why? Because it's not focused on terrorists. It would have banned anyone from coming here. Someone from Taiwan would not have been able to come here as a tourist.

PAUL: What I put forward was an amendment that would have temporarily halted immigration from high-risk terrorist countries. I wanted them to go through Global Entry, which is a program where we do background checks.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate Dec 15, 2015

Rick Santorum: Our policy is magnet that says "amnesty"; that has to change

Q [to Sen. Graham]: In 2013 you pushed through comprehensive immigration reform. Many accused you of amnesty. Would you sponsor that bill again today?

GRAHAM: Well, the first thing I would do is make adjustments to reality [of ISIS and terrorism]. I would make changes to that bill in light of what I know today.

SANTORUM: Lindsey says this is a real war, until it comes to immigration. And, then, all of a sudden it's not such a real war. The reality is that we've seen since the events of 9/11, the president talks about how he's worried about discrimination and acts against Muslims. There's four times as many acts of violence against Jews than there are against Muslims. I never hear the president talk about that.

Q: What would you do?

SANTORUM: We've created a magnet. We're attracting people. We have a policy that says amnesty. The world hears this, and knows that if they can come across this border, by and large, they're going to be able to stay. That has to change.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican second-tier debate Dec 15, 2015

Ted Cruz: Build a wall instead of massive amnesty plan

Q [to Sen. Rubio]: You describe a very long path, but does that path end at citizenship?

RUBIO: After ten years in probationary status, where all they have is a permit, I personally am open to allowing people to apply for a green card. That may not be a majority position in my party, but that's down the road. You can't even begin that process until you prove to people--not just pass a law that says you're gonna bring illegal immigration under control--you're gonna have to do it and prove to people that it's working.

CRUZ: There was a time for choosing, as Reagan put it. There was a battle over amnesty and some chose, like Senator Rubio, to stand with Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer and support a massive amnesty plan. Others chose to stand with the American people and secure the border. And I tell you, if I'm elected president, we will secure the border. We will triple the border patrol. We will build a wall that works and I'll get Donald Trump to pay for it.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate Dec 15, 2015

Ted Cruz: Enforce the law against millions of illegals currently here

RUBIO: As far as Ted Cruz's record, I'm always puzzled by his attack on immigration. Ted, you support legalizing people who are in this country illegally. Ted Cruz supported a 500% increase in the number of H-1 visas, the guest workers that are allowed into this country, and Ted supports doubling the number of green cards.

CRUZ: It is not accurate what he just said that I supported legalization. Indeed, I led the fight against his legalization and amnesty.

RUBIO: Does Ted Cruz rule out ever legalizing people that are in this country now?

CRUZ : I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization. Let me tell you how you do this, what you do is you enforce the law. I've laid out a very, very detailed immigration plan on my website. It's 11 pages of existing federal law and in particular the question of what to do with people who are here now? You enforce the law. We can enforce the laws and if we secure the border, that solves the problem.

Source: 2015 CNN/Salem Republican two-tier debate Dec 15, 2015

Ted Cruz: FactCheck: Yes, Bill Clinton deported 12M illegal aliens

Ted Cruz, debating the possibility of deporting an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants, asked, "Do you know how many aliens Bill Clinton deported? 12 million. Do you know how many illegal aliens, George W. Bush deported? 10 million."

Is that true? We checked, and found that both of Cruz's figures are accurate. Looking at the Department of Homeland Security's "Yearbook of Immigration Statistics: 2013 Enforcement Actions", the figures in Table 39 are:

Administration
Deportations
8,300,000Reagan (1981-1988)
4,100,000Bush Sr. (1989-1992)
4,100,000Clinton (1993-2000)
10,300,000Bush Jr. (2001-2008)
3,200,000Obama first term (2009-2012; on track for 6 million total)
Those figures include both "removals and returns." Cruz's point is that 11 million deportations have been accomplished before.
Source: OnTheIssues FactCheck on 2015 CNN/Salem Republican debate Dec 15, 2015

  • The above quotations are from CNN/Salem Republican Debate
    at The Venetian in Las Vegas
    Moderated by Wolf Blitzer.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
  • Click here for more quotes by Donald Trump on Immigration.
  • Click here for more quotes by Marco Rubio 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)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.John Kasich(OH)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.George Pataki(NY)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Scott Walker(WI)
Democrats:
Gov.Lincoln Chafee(RI)
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)
Sen.Bernie Sanders(VT)
Sen.Elizabeth Warren(MA)
Sen.Jim Webb(VA)

2016 Third Party Candidates:
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Roseanne Barr(PF-HI)
Robert Steele(L-NY)
Dr.Jill Stein(G,MA)
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Page last updated: Sep 05, 2016