State of Iowa Archives: on Immigration


Sam Clovis: Border security at the very top of the priority list

Throughout this nation's history, the rule of law has been a fundamental American value. This legislation offers amnesty--the forgiveness of criminal behavior--for millions of individuals who entered this country illegally or who have overstayed their allotted time here. To allow someone to eventually achieve citizenship through illegal acts flies in the face of the most fundamental understanding of common and public law.

If we have learned nothing, we should take heed of the lessons of the aftermath of the passage and implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. First, more than twice as many illegal immigrants came forth for amnesty than were estimated by Congress before passage.

Immigration reform is necessary and should be undertaken deliberately and intentionally. However, it should be done in phases with border security at the very top of the priority list. To do otherwise is to betray the American people.

Source: 2014 Senate campaign website, Iowans4SamClovis.com, "Issues" Nov 11, 2013

Herman Cain: We have a path to citizenship: it's called legal immigration

Q: When Pres. Obama joked about protecting the borders with alligators and a moat, not only did you embrace the idea, you upped the ante with "a 20-foot barbed wire electrified fence." Were you serious?

A: America has got to learn how to take a joke. But allow me to give you my real solution to the immigration problem. I happen to believe that is four problems.

  1. Yes, we must secure the border with whatever means necessary.
  2. Enforce the laws that are there.
  3. Promote the path to citizenship that's already there. We have a path to citizenship for illegal aliens. It's called legal immigration.
  4. And then, I happen to agree with empowering the states and allow them to deal with that issue. If we work on the right problem, we will be able to solve it.
And in the case of immigration, we've got four problems that we need to work on simultaneously. We can have high fences and wide open doors, all at the same time.
Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Jon Huntsman: End patchwork of state laws & just secure the border

Q: You said that we need to build a fence to secure our borders, but then we need to deal with the millions of illegal immigrants already here in the country. You said, "There's got to be an alternative to sending them back. That's unrealistic." Are you proposing citizenship for illegal aliens?

A: The thing we need to do most on illegal immigration--because there has been zero leadership in Washington., we've created this patchwork of solutions in the states, which makes for a very complex & confusing environment. When elected president, I'm simply going to prove to the American people that we can secure the border. That's what they want done. And I'm not going to talk about anything else until we get it done. We can finish. And I will talk to the fou border state governors and get verification from them that, in fact, we've secured the border. And once that is done, then we can move on. But this discussion has zero in the way of any intellectual credibility until such time as we secure the border.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Mitt Romney: I like legal immigration; let business determine visas

Q: In 2008, you said you favored allowing American companies to hire more skilled foreign workers. With unemployment at 9.1%, are you still for importing more foreign labor?

A: Well, of course not. We're not looking to bring people in for jobs that can be done by Americans. But at the same time, we want to make sure that America welcomes the best and brightest in the world. If someone comes here and gets a PhD in physics, that's the person I'd like to staple a green card to their diploma, rather than saying to them to go home. I want the best & brightest to be metered into the country based upon the needs of our employment sector & create jobs by bringing technology and innovation that comes from people around the world. I like legal immigration I'd have the number of visas that we give to people here that come here legally, determined in part by the needs of our employment community. But we have to secure our border and crack down on those that bring folks here and hire here illegally.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Newt Gingrich: Citizen Boards to decide which immigrants stay and go

Q: You're looking at the idea of having citizen boards choose which illegal immigrants can stay in the country and which would have to go. Who decides the memberships of these boards, and how would they work?

A: I think it's very important to go back and look at how the Selective Service Commission worked in World War II, because it was local, practical decision-making, and people genuinely thought it was fair and it was reasonable.

Q: What about Pres. Obama's joke about protecting the borders wit alligators and a moat?

A: That was the perfect symbol of his failure as a leader. He failed to get any immigration reform through when he controlled the Senate. He could ram through Obamacare, but he couldn't deal with immigration. I would be prepared to take as many people from Homeland Security's bureaucracy in Washington and move them to Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, as are needed, to control the border. And we should have English as the official language of government.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Ron Paul: Pay attention to US borders, not international borders

Q: Why are you opposed to a system that requires employers to verify the immigration status of their workers?

A: I don't like putting the burden on our businessmen to be the policemen. That means he has to be policing activity. But I have a strong position on immigration. I don't think that we should give amnesty and they become voters. But I do think we should deal with our borders. One way that I would suggest that we could do it is pay less attention to the borders between Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan and bring our troops home and deal with the border. But why do we pay more attention to the borders overseas and less attention to the borders here at home? We now have a mess on the borders, and it has a lot more to do with it than just immigration, because we're financing some of this militarism against the drug dealers on the borders right now to the tune of over $1 billion. And there is a mess down there, but it's much bigger than just the immigration problem.

Source: Iowa Straw Poll 2011 GOP debate in Ames Iowa Aug 11, 2011

Roxanne Conlin: No amnesty; secure the southern border

A government's first duty is to protect its people. However, you cannot protect the people if you cannot protect the borders.

In order to secure the southern border, we must increase the number of security personnel and give them the tools that they need to be more effective.

We also need to stop the massive brain drain created when we educate foreign born scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in our greatest institutions and then make them take those excellent and needed skills to their home countries, even if they want to stay here and fill our serious needs for their expertise.

I do not support amnesty, which means an official pardon. Because those here illegally have in fact broken the law, there must be a penalty. However, we must recognize that we simply cannot corral the millions of undocumented persons and deport them. Even to try such a strategy would cost hundreds of billions of dollars and cause portions of our economy to collapse.

Source: 2010 Senate campaign website, roxanneforiowa.com, "Issues" Aug 12, 2010

Christopher Reed: Illegal border crossers are felons, not ďguestsĒ

Q: What would you propose to curb the flow of illegal immigrants into the country?

A: First and foremost we need to protect and defend our borders. Crossing our borders illegally is a felony. Those persons crossing the border illegally need to be dealt with as felons, not ďguestsĒ. Come to our country right or donít come here at all. I believe in our Melting Pot. However, those folks coming here in search of a better life need to assimilate to our way of life, not the other way around.

Source: The Iowa Brigade, email questionnaire Apr 2, 2008

Hillary Clinton: Crack down on employers who exploit undocumented workers

Q: Would you help dispel the negative perception of illegal immigrants & undocumented workers that more and more Americans are beginning to have?

A: I deeply regret the way the Republicans are politicizing this issue. They are trying to outdo each other in basically demeaning and attacking those who are here in our country--yes, without documentation--but who are often doing the work that allows raising their families and making a contribution. The answer is comprehensive immigration reform. We have to keep working towards it. Yes, weíve got to have tougher border security. We do have to crack down on employers who exploit and employee undocumented people. Weíve got to do more to help local communities bear the costs of it. Because they donít set immigration laws. Weíve got to do more with our neighbors to the south to help them create more economic opportunity for their own people but at the end of the day there has to be an earned path to legalization.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Joe Biden: Americans will do any job if you pay them properly

Q: Do you believe in this debate over immigration that weíre talking about jobs that Americans wonít do?

A: Letís get it straight. Americans will do any job if you pay them properly. That doesnít mean we donít need guest workers; we do. But we should base the number of guest workers upon need--not an absolute number. And we should require employers to offer those jobs to citizens to see if they want those jobs. We need agricultural workers; we need H1B visas; we need what in fact exists as a need, not as an artificial number to allow employers to drive down wages.

Q: Does hiring illegal immigrants to do these jobs drive down wages?

A: [Yes, it] drives down wages. But there are a lot of people who will go out and hang drywall and get a decent wage. There are not a lot of people who are going out and do the agricultural work thatís seasonal. So it should be based on need.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

John Edwards: End immigrant raids that separate parents from children

Q: Do you believe a moratorium on raids is needed and what would you do as president to help states like Iowa meet its labor force needs?

A: First of all, I [oppose] these raids, and particularly the way they are being conducted, separating parents from children. I think the bottom line is that we need to reform the laws for immigration in this country so that everybody has a real and meaningful path to citizenship.

Source: 2007 Iowa Brown & Black Presidential Forum Dec 1, 2007

Dennis Kucinich: Bush immigration program is indentured servitude

Q: Would you automatically grant citizenship to any immigrant who serves in combat on behalf of the US?

DEAN: You have to be a little bit careful about how you do that, otherwise you will have a disproportionate number of people who are Hispanic joining the army simply to do that. So the answer is, if you serve America, yes, you ought to get citizenship. But we have to be very careful just exactly how we offer that so we donít have an unfair, disproportionate affect on Hispanics in this country who are not citizens.

KUCINICH: First, that we all agree that people ought to have citizenship if they serve this country. We also ought to agree that there ought to be amnesty for anyone who has been working in this country and would otherwise be denied rights. Third, we ought to talk about how the Bush administrationís program that they just announced is really a program for indentured servitude because what they are talking about is locking people into control by corporations.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Dick Gephardt: Immigration service is a mess and needs reform

Q: What will you do to ensure that those who seek to apply for citizenship are receiving quality customer service and being treated fairly?

A: The Immigration Service has been a mess. They do not process these applications quickly. Itís a long, long process that takes far too long than it should. And it needs to be reformed, and we need to make people welcome in this country. If people are applying to be citizens, they need to be treated as customers and it needs to be an expedited process.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Dick Gephardt: Federal government should help illegal immigrants

Q: Why should illegal immigration be a local burden?

A: The federal government needs to help state and local government in dealing with these needs. If children are here, they have to be educated. They have to get basic health care. And the federal government needs to fill some of that need. I agree entirely with whatís been said about earned legalization. If people have been here, obeyed the laws, paid their taxes, worked hard, they deserve the right to be able to get into legal status.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Howard Dean: Be careful about granting citizenship for military services

Q: Would you automatically grant citizenship to any immigrant who serves in combat on behalf of the US?

DEAN: You have to be a little bit careful about how you do that, otherwise you will have a disproportionate number of people who are Hispanic joining the army simply to do that. So the answer is, if you serve America, yes, you ought to get citizenship. But we have to be very careful just exactly how we offer that so we donít have an unfair, disproportionate affect on Hispanics in this country who are not citizens.

KUCINICH: First, that we all agree that people ought to have citizenship if they serve this country. We also ought to agree that there ought to be amnesty for anyone who has been working in this country and would otherwise be denied rights. Third, we ought to talk about how the Bush administrationís program that they just announced is really a program for indentured servitude because what they are talking about is locking people into control by corporations.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

John Edwards: Differentiate terrorists from the immigrants

Q: How would you distinguish or differentiate terrorists from the immigrants and visitors?

A: The whole notion of earned citizenship is something that I strongly support. I would expand the number of legal immigrants that can get into the country, which helps relieve some of this pressure that we have right now. Our relationship with Mexico and Pres. Fox is in the worst shape that we can imagine. And the result of that is, we donít have the kind of security along our southern border that we need.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Joseph Lieberman: Make sure immigrants are treated fairly

Q: How would you encourage those who are eligible to apply for citizenship?

A: I am for earned right of legalization for undocumented immigrants. Iím for temporary worker permits for people coming over. Iím for lifting the cap on family reunification which keeps immigrant families apart and Iím for lifting the cap on political refugees. Weíre one nation under God, individual, with liberty and justice for all. And that means making sure that our immigrants, new Americans are treated fairly.

Source: Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum Jan 11, 2004

Al Gore: Immigrants from communist Cuba are different

Q: Under what is known as the wet-foot-dry-foot law, a Cuban who makes it to US soil can stay. Do you think that this law should be expanded to include other groups? A: I think that Communist dictatorships are treated differently for a legitimate reason.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa Jan 17, 2000

  • The above quotations are from State of Iowa Politicians: Archives.
  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for other issues (main summary page).
2016 Presidential contenders on Immigration:
  Democrats:
Secy.Hillary Clinton(NY)
V.P.Joe Biden(DE)
Gov.Andrew Cuomo(NY)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel(IL)
Gov.Martin O`Malley(MD)

Republicans:
Amb.John Bolton(MD)
Gov.Jeb Bush(FL)
Dr.Ben Carson(MD)
Gov.Chris Christie(NJ)
Sen.Ted Cruz(TX)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Rep.Peter King(NY)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Sen.Rand Paul(KY)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Sen.Rob Portman(OH)
Secy.Condi Rice(CA)
Sen.Marco Rubio(FL)
Rep.Paul Ryan(WI)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
2016 Third Party Candidates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg(I-NYC)
Gov.Gary Johnson(L-NM)
Donald Trump(NY)
Gov.Jesse Ventura(I-MN)
Please consider a donation to OnTheIssues.org!
Click for details -- or send donations to:
1770 Mass Ave. #630, Cambridge MA 02140
E-mail: submit@OnTheIssues.org
(We rely on your support!)

Page last updated: Mar 29, 2014