State of Iowa Archives: on Immigration


Hillary Clinton: Net immigration from Mexico has fallen to zero

Q: Republicans say securing borders is a top priority, before comprehensive reform.

Gov. O'MALLEY: We've actually been focusing on border security to the exclusion of talking about comprehensive immigration reform. The truth of the matter is, net immigration from Mexico last year was zero. Fact check me. Go ahead. Check it out. But the truth of the matter is, if we want wages to go up, we've got to get 11 million of our neighbors out of off the book shadow economy, and into the full light of an American economy.

CLINTON: I think all of us on this stage agree that we need comprehensive immigration reform with a path to citizenship. Border security has always been a part of that debate. And it is a fact that the net immigration from Mexico and South has basically zeroed out.

Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa Nov 14, 2015

Martin O`Malley: Our symbol is the Statue of Liberty, not a barbed wire fence

Q: Republicans say securing borders is a top priority.

O'MALLEY: We've actually been focusing on border security to the exclusion of talking about comprehensive immigration reform. In fact, if more border security--and more and more deportations-- were going to bring our Republican brothers and sisters to the table, it would have happened long ago. The truth of the matter is, net immigration from Mexico last year was zero. Fact check me. Go ahead. Check it out. But the truth of the matter is, if we want wages to go up, we've got to get 11 million of our neighbors out of off the book shadow economy, and into the full light of an American economy. That's what our parents and grandparents always did. That's what we need to do as a nation. Our symbol is the Statue of Liberty. It is not a barbed wire fence.

CLINTON: It is a fact that the net immigration from Mexico and South has basically zeroed out.

Source: 2015 CBS Democratic primary debate in Iowa Nov 14, 2015

Bob Krause: 67% of Millenials support pathway to citizenship

Source: 2016 Campaign website for Iowa Senate, krauseforiowa.com Nov 11, 2015

Scott Walker: We have too many legal immigrants

Ahead of the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition event, Walker hardened his positions on issues considered litmus tests for social conservatives, including abortion and immigration. He suggested in an interview with Glenn Beck that there are too many legal immigrants, a position to the right of other 2016 hopefuls.
Source: N. Y. Times on 2015 Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition summit Apr 25, 2015

Lindsey Graham: Legal status for undocumented workers

Jeb Bush laid out his guiding principles on immigration, saying that after the Southern border is secure, the focus should be on legalizing immigrants who can benefit the economy.

Graham, too, spoke in favor of immigration reform, including legal status for undocumented workers, a stand often opposed by conservative audiences. He cast his support in terms of economic necessity, to expand the workforce to pay for entitlement programs for retiring Baby Boomers.

Source: Des Moines Register coverage of 2015 Iowa Ag Summit Mar 7, 2015

Ben Carson: Use Canadian model for guest worker program

Dr. Ben Carson was a success [with the Iowa Freedom Summit crowd]. He told a great life story about how he survived serious hardships, and shared his faith. With respect to immigration he wants to incorporate a guest worker program modeled on the Canadian one. That's a guest worker program for jobs Americans don't want to do, seal the border, and accept applications only from applicants who are outside of our borders.
Source: Salon.com weblog on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit Jan 26, 2015

Jeb Bush: Immigrants are an engine of economic vitality

Q: At Congressman King's Iowa Freedom Summit, a whole host of potential Republican candidates for the presidency appeared, but someone who was not there is former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. He said this at an event in San Francisco:

JEB BUSH (VIDEO CLIP): Immigrants are an engine of economic vitality. We need to find a way, a path to legalized status for those that have come here and have languished in the shadows. There's no way that they're going to be deported. No one is suggesting an organized effort to do that.

Q (to SEN. RICK SANTORUM): Is he right that immigration is the engine of economic vitality?

SANTORUM: Immigration can be, if immigration is done the right way. Immigration policy in America has to put America and American workers first. The focus of immigration policies [should be] on where we need certain skills or certain people to come to this country to help gin up and encourage our economy.

Source: CNN SOTU interview on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit Jan 25, 2015

Ben Carson: Common-sense solutions: guest workers plus harsher penalties

Rising conservative star Ben Carson seemed to charm attendees at Saturday's Freedom Summit, weaving stories of his upbringing through a series of topics including immigration and health care. Carson, a best-selling author and retired neurosurgeon, spoke in an easy-going style that alternated between sincere and humorous: "I always feel so welcomed when I come to Iowa, because they have so many people here who actually have common sense," Carson said. Laughter followed.

Carson called for common-sense solutions to end government overreach and return America to traditional values. He spoke at relative length on immigration, calling for harsher penalties for those who employ undocumented immigrants and better border security. Carson also called on the U.S. to adopt a version of Canada's guest worker program, requiring those seeking work to apply while they live outside the U.S.

Source: Des Moines Register on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit Jan 24, 2015

Rick Perry: If Washington refuses to enforce the border, Texas will

Several political activists tried to interrupt Perry as he spoke about his tough stance on immigration enforcement on the Texas-Mexico border. The protesters held signs that read: "Deportable?" The signs asked whether potential presidential candidates agreed with U.S. Rep. Steve King (R-IA), a co-sponsor of Saturday's event who has been a harsh critic of President Barack Obama's immigration policies.

Perry ignored the protesters, who were escorted out of the building by police. "Here is what I say: If Washington refuses to enforce the border, Texas will. This problem has dragged on long enough," Perry said.

Perry got enthusiastic applause and cheers for his criticism of President Barack Obama's administration and his calls for lower taxes, less government regulation and tougher border security.

Source: Des Moines Register on 2015 Iowa Freedom Summit Jan 24, 2015

Rod Blum: Secure the border; then loosen red tape for H1B visas

Immigration reform needs to start with fully securing the US border. We have been told by the federal government that they would secure the border in 1986 and 2006 and both times they failed.

Once we secure our border we can begin to reform our legal immigration system, which today makes it extremely difficult for those who seek to come here legally. For example, the H1B visa system that provides a path for highly skilled workers to immigrate to America is full of unnecessary obstacles and red tape.

Source: 2014 Iowa House campaign website, RodBlum.com Nov 4, 2014

Joni Ernst: Protect the borders; prevent illegal entry

Question topic: Government should enforce laws designed to protect the border and to prevent illegal entry of persons into the country.

Ernst: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 Iowa Senate race Sep 30, 2014

Bruce Braley: Supports comprehensive reform but not amnesty

Braley denied that the Senate immigration bill he supports includes amnesty. The Democrat blamed the border crisis in part on the House's failure to take up the bill that passed the Senate. He noted that Arizona Sen. John McCain and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio supported the measure because it forces people in the country illegally to admit wrongdoing, pay a fine and go to the back of the line. "Amnesty is when you break the law and there are no consequences," said Braley.
Source: Politico.com e-zine on 2014 Iowa Senate debate Sep 28, 2014

Doug Butzier: Turn illegal aliens into taxpayers by legalizing them

Q: Do you support or oppose the statement, "Pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens"?

A: Absolutely. It's about the only way to turn them into taxpayers.

Source: E-mail interview: 2014 Iowa Senate race with OnTheIssues.org Sep 17, 2014

Sam Clovis: Protect the borders; prevent illegal entry

Question topic: Government should enforce laws designed to protect the border and to prevent illegal entry of persons into the country.

Clovis: Strongly Agree

Source: Faith2Action iVoterGuide on 2014 Iowa Senate race Jul 2, 2014

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

Chet Culver: Feds should deal with immigration, not state police

People stopped by law enforcement officers in Iowa should have to prove their citizenship status, Terry Branstad said. Branstad has previously said state lawmakers should work with local law enforcement to fashion an immigration law that meets Iowa's needs, particularly if the federal government continues to fail to enforce current laws. Gov. Chet Culver said Branstad's idea would create a drain on Iowa taxpayers. Culver previously said that the federal government must take the lead on immigration.

"As Branstad should know, the governor of Iowa has no ability to command that the federal government, whose jurisdiction this falls under, to reimburse local governments across Iowa," said a spokeswoman for Culver. "For Iowans, it's just a shift from one tax to another if Terry Branstad were elected."

Branstad acknowledged the possible costs, telling people at his campaign events Wednesday that he does not want Iowans left paying the bill.

Source: Des Moines Register OpEd on 2014 Iowa governor's race Jul 10, 2010

Terry Branstad: Cops should check citizenship status during traffic stops

Branstad's statements sparked intense reaction. The executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa said: "Such a requirement not only raises questions of whether it could be applied equally to persons of all races and nationalities, but it also creates the prospect of forcing officers to spend too much of their precious time dealing with issues of the residency on every person they stop."
Source: Des Moines Register OpEd on 2014 Iowa governor's race Jul 10, 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

Rob Hogg: Civil penalties for employing unauthorized aliens

Source: Iowa legislative voting records for H.F. 2671 Mar 16, 2006

Rob Hogg: No home mortgages for illegal immigrants

HF 2671 Undocumented Immigrants Restrictions
Bill Passed House (69 - 25); Rep. Rob Hogg voted Yea
Source: VoteSmart synopsis of 2006 Iowa legislative voting records Mar 16, 2006

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

Jack Hatch: Opposes English as the official language

Q: Do you support English as the official language of Iowa government??

A: No.

Source: 2002 Iowa Gubernatorial National Political Awareness Test Nov 1, 2002

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:
  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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