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Lincoln Chafee on Immigration

Former Republican Senator (RI, 1999-2007)


Supports legalization path & guest worker programs

Immigration--committed to helping immigrants integrate into our society and become US citizens: Lincoln Chafee is committed to helping immigrants integrate into our society and become US citizens. As U.S. Senator, supported the Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S. 1033), an immigration reform bill that incorporated legalization, guest worker programs, and border enforcement components. As governor, one of his first acts will be to repeal the executive order on E-Verify.
Source: Campaign website, chafeeforgovernor.com, "Chafee Plan" , Nov 2, 2010

Co-sponsored McCain-Kennedy immigration bill

Q: What about immigration?

CHAFEE: I co-sponsored the McCain bill. He came up with a bill, path to legality but also strong border security. There was a good compromise. Bush supports it and others and thatís the best way to handle these 11 million illegal immigrants that are here working illegally in this country. First, border security. Second, a path to legality. Pay back fines. Learn English. Get in the back of the line of the immigration line. And itís a big problem. Itís going to take bipartisan work.

LAFFEY: Chafee voted for illegal aliens and voted to give social security benefits to illegal aliens and heís voted to give foreign workers up to four to five times as much as American workers on the same job site. I wonít stand for that if Iím down in the US Senate. They want the border secured. Then they want to enforce the laws against employers. Then after we do those two things, then we can talk about a guest worker program that would help both Mexico and the US.

Source: 2006 R.I. Republican Senate Primary debate on WPRI , Aug 24, 2006

Laffey supported then opposed ID cards for illegal aliens

I think the most important thing on any issue is to be consistent?trust is built with consistency. Just a few months ago, Laffey was having a rally where he was touting ?counselor cards? that recognize that if someone is illegal in this country, they can get an ID card. He was saying this was a good thing for Cranston. Now heís saying on the show that we had a debate, he was saying we have to put these people in jail. Why? Because he found it wasnít popular and changed, a 180 degree change.
Source: 2006 R.I. Republican Senate Primary debate on WPRI , Aug 24, 2006

More programs for legal immigrants

Supports increasing the eligibility of legal immigrants for certain social programs (e.g. public housing, food stamps).
Source: 2000 National Political Awareness Test , Jan 1, 2000

Voted NO on building a fence along the Mexican border.

Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:

  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of

Reference: Secure Fence Act; Bill H R 6061 ; vote number 2006-262 on Sep 29, 2006

Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program.

Reference: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act; Bill S. 2611 ; vote number 2006-157 on May 25, 2006

Voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.

Voting YEA would table (kill) the proposed amendment to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security benefits. Voting NAY supports that prohibition, while voting YEA supports immigrants participating in Social Security. Text of amendment:
To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.
Reference: Preclusion of Social Security Credits; Bill S.Amdt.3985 to S.2611 ; vote number 2006-130 on May 18, 2006

Voted YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship.

This amendment to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would prohibit H-2C nonimmigrants ("Guest Workers") from adjusting to lawful permanent resident status. Voting YEA on the motion to table (which would kill the amendment) indicates supporting a path to citizenship for guest workers. Voting NAY on the motion indicates opposing any path to citizenship. The amendment says:
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, an alien having nonimmigrant status is ineligible for and may not apply for adjustment of status.''
Reference: Kyl Amendment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act; Bill S.Amdt.3969 to S.2611 ; vote number 2006-135 on May 18, 2006

English immersion over bilingual education.

adopted the Republican Main Street Partnership agenda item:

[The Republican Main Street Partnership supports giving priority to] examining new ways to increase the English fluency of limited English proficient students. Currently, priority is given to instruction programs that provide for bilingual education, which combines proficiency in the studentŪs native language with English instruction. Recently, however, education research has suggested that English immersion -- not bilingual instruction -- may be the most effective way to help students become proficient in English. Native language requirements in current law must change to reflect this reality and new instruction methods must be pursued with an eye toward regular evaluation and improved English language acquisition.

Source: 2001 GOP Main Street Partnership Action Agenda for Education 01-RMSP1 on Jul 2, 2001

Comprehensive immigration reform without amnesty.

co-sponsored for comprehensive immigration reform without amnesty

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. McCAIN: This bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform legislation is designed to fix our Nation's broken immigration system. While in previous years we worked independently on immigration reform legislation, we are coming together today to introduce what we believe is groundbreaking, comprehensive legislation. Over a year ago, the President laid out a framework for what comprehensive immigration reform should look like. We have used the President's framework to craft this package.

The simple fact is that America's immigration system is broken. Recent vigilante activities along the southwestern border have shown that the current situation is not sustainable. Americans are frustrated with our lack of border security and our inability to control illegal immigration.

Make no mistake, this is not an amnesty bill. We are not here to reward law-breakers, and any accusations to the contrary are patently untrue. This bill recognizes the problems inherent in the current system and provides a logical and effective means to address these problems. It would be impossible to identify and round up all 10 to 11 million of the current undocumented, and if we did, it would ground our Nation's economy to a halt. These millions of people are working. Aliens will not come forward to simply "report and deport." We have a national interest in identifying these individuals, incentivizing them to come forward out of the shadows, go through security background checks, pay back taxes, pay penalties for breaking the law, learn to speak English, and regularize their status. Anyone who thinks this goal can be achieved without providing an eventual path to a permanent legal status is not serious about solving this problem.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on the Judiciary; never came to a vote. [The famous McCain-Kennedy legislation which DID come to a vote was the 2007 version of this bill].

Source: Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act (S.1033/H.R.2330) 05-S1033 on May 12, 2005

Sponsored bill covering child resident aliens under Medicaid.

sponsored covering child resident aliens under Medicaid & SCHIP

OFFICIAL CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: Grants States the option of covering certain categories of eligible pregnant women and child resident aliens, including targeted low-income children, under the Medicaid and SCHIP programs.

SPONSOR'S INTRODUCTORY REMARKS: Sen. CLINTON: This legislation would allow States to use Federal funds to provide critical healthcare services to pregnant women and children. This bill is fundamentally about three things--fairness, fiscal relief, and financial savings.

I will start with fairness. All across America, legal immigrants work hard, pay taxes, and exercise their civic responsibilities. Yet, in 1996, Congress denied safety net services to legal immigrants who had been in the country for less than 5 years.

This legislation is also a matter of good fiscal policy. Today, 19 States use State funds to provide healthcare services to legal immigrants within the 5-year waiting period. At least 155,000 children and 60,000 adults are receiving these benefits. A total of 387,000 recent legal immigrants would be eligible to receive these services if their States opt to take advantage of the program.

And finally, this bill is about long-term healthcare cost savings. Covering uninsured children and pregnant women through Medicaid can reduce unnecessary hospitalization by 22%. Pregnant women who forgo prenatal care are more likely to develop complications during pregnancy, which results in higher costs for postpartum care. And women without access to prenatal care are four times more likely to deliver low birth weight infants and seven times more likely to deliver prematurely than women who receive prenatal care, according to the Institute of Medicine. All of these health outcomes are costly to society and to the individuals involved.

LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Referred to Senate Committee on Finance; never came to a vote.

Source: Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act (S.1104/HR.1233) 05-S1104 on May 23, 2005

2010 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Immigration: Lincoln Chafee on other issues:

RI Senatorial:
Jack Reed
Sheldon Whitehouse

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