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Dick Gephardt on Immigration

Former Democratic Representative (MO-3); Former Democratic Candidate for President


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. It's 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

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 what's 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

Legalize all immigrants who've been productive for 5 years

Q: You introduced legislation for legalizing undocumented workers. Now, there are many voters in the US who feel that legalizing undocumented workers would be giving them some type of an award for having broken the law. Do you fear that your proposal would alienate those voters? And if so, are you willing to take that risk?

GEPHARDT: I put the bill in. I wrote the bill with my friends in the Hispanic Caucus in the House. I am proud of that bill. I stand behind it fully. It's the right thing to do for this country. We're all immigrants unless we're Native Americans, and we need to recognize the hard work and productivity and the loyalty and the military service of people that are in this country and are not in legal status.

My bill is simple. It says, you've been here for five years, you worked for two years, you haven't broken laws, you can get into legal status. It'll bring power and productivity out of these people.

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

Bush tax plan is a failure-return to Clinton tax plan

The right thing to do is to get rid of the Bush tax cuts because my plan will put more money in the pockets of the average family than the Bush tax cuts. Why would we not want to go back to the Clinton tax plan? Why would we want to keep anything of the Bush tax plan? It's a miserable failure.
Source: Democratic Primary Debate, Albuquerque New Mexico Sep 4, 2003

Celebrate diversity and welcome hard-working immigrants

We want to work together to improve homeland security and protect our borders, to keep out those people who want to bring us harm but also to celebrate our nationís diversity and welcome those hard-working immigrants who pay taxes and keep our country strong.
Source: Democratic response to the State of the Union speech Jan 29, 2002

Nothing wrong with immigrants, but Americans in jobs better

There are approximately 300,000 jobs nationally that cannot be filled adequately by Americans. Employers have been urging Congress to loosen US immigration policies to bring in more workers from India and China to fill these jobs. Thereís nothing wrong with welcoming immigrants to our shores, but we should be able to fill these jobs with students from our own schools-or, if our system isnít producing qualified candidates, weíve got to fix it.
Source: An Even Better Place, by Dick Gephardt, p.133 Jul 2, 1999

Voted NO on reporting illegal aliens who receive hospital treatment.

Vote to pass the bill that would require hospitals to gather and report information on possible illegal aliens before hospitals can be reimbursed for treating them. The bill would also make employers liable for the reimbursements if an undocumented employee seeks medical attention, unless the employer meets particular conditions for exemption. The bill would specify that hospitals aren't required to provide care to undocumented aliens if they can be transported to their home country without a significant chance of worsening their condition.
Reference: Undocumented Alien Emergency Medical Assistance Amendments; Bill HR 3722 ; vote number 2004-182 on May 20, 2004

Voted YES on extending Immigrant Residency rules.

Vote on motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill that would extend by four months a law allowing some immigrants to remain in the country while pursuing legal residency.
Reference: Motion sponsoerd by Gekas, R-PA; Bill HR1885 ; vote number 2001-127 on May 21, 2001

Voted YES on more immigrant visas for skilled workers.

Vote to pass a bill to increase the number of temporary visas granted to highly skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 by the year 2000.
Reference: Bill introduced by Smith, R-TX.; Bill HR 3736 ; vote number 1998-460 on Sep 24, 1998

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Immigration.
  • Click here for policy papers on Immigration.
  • Click here for HouseMatch answers by Dick Gephardt.
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Other candidates on Immigration: Dick Gephardt on other issues:
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Bob Holden
Matt Blunt
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John Ashcroft
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Nancy Farmer

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