Paul Ryan on Immigration

Republican nominee for Vice President; U.S. Rep. (WI-1)


Send illegal immigrant kids back to Central America

Q: On immigration, you voted to support a law that basically created a situation we have now, which is those who come to the border from Central America have to be put into a process where they are evaluated before they can be instantly deported. Do you have a different view of how that should happen now? Do you think these children and others, tens of thousands of them, should be sent back home?

REP. PAUL RYAN: Yes, I do. Otherwise the humanitarian crisis will continue. Otherwise families in countries far away, on the other side of Mexico will be giving thousands of dollars to traffickers to take their children over the border and the humanitarian crisis will get worse. So I do believe we need to amend this law, which never intended for this to happen, to make sure that you can treat people in noncontiguous countries just like we do Mexicans and Canadians so that we can stop this crisis.

Source: Meet the Press 2014 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 27, 2014

Immigration reform possible after the border is secure

Q: Listening to both you and President Obama this week, it does sound like you could reach a compromise on immigration reform, one that opens a path to citizenship to for the undocumented, but doesn't necessarily have a special path for the undocumented. But this talk of compromise has unleashed a furious debate inside your own party.

RYAN: We don't know who's coming and going in this country. We don't have control of our border. We don't have control of interior enforcement. Here's the issue that all Republicans agree on--we don't trust the president to enforce the law. So if you actually look at the standards that the Republican leadership put out: first we have to secure the border, have interior enforcement, which is a worker verification system, a visa tracking program. Those things have to be in law, in practice and independently verified before the rest of the law can occur. So it's a security force first, non-amnesty approach.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 16, 2014

Not "trust but verify"; need "verify then trust" approach

Q: A "Weekly Standard" editorial said, "Bringing immigration to the floor ensures a circular GOP firing squad. There's really no need to act this year on immigration; don't even try." Your response?

RYAN: This is not one of those issues where it has some kind of a deadline behind it, like, say, a government shutdown, which forces us into a compromise we might not like to take. This is a "here are our standards; this is what we're willing to do." And we're still having a debate in our caucus about even that. But we don't think that we can allow this border to continue to be overrun. And if we can get security first, no amnesty, before anything happens, we think that's a good approach. This is not a trust but verify, this is a verify then trust approach.

Q: Can you put something on the president's desk that he can sign?

RYAN: I really don't know the answer to that question. It depends on whether we can do that, where it's security first, no amnesty, then we might be able to get somewhere.

Source: ABC This Week 2014 series of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 16, 2014

Step-by-step approach, not a big massive immigration bill

Q: Sen. Lindsey Graham says the GOP is in a downward demographic death spiral unless you figure out some way to reform immigration.

RYAN: I disagree that we should approach this issue based on what's right for us politically. We should approach this issue on what we think is the right thing to do. We have been listening to the American people. So what we're going to do is take a step-by-step approach to get immigration right, not a big massive bill. Number one, we don't have control of our border. And we need interior enforcement to know who's coming and going. And right now, people come to this country based on family relations, not based on skills. Most other countries have a legal immigration system that's good for their country, we should do the same. And when it comes to the undocumented, people who came here illegally, we want to give people a chance to get right with the law while not doing an amnesty. Pay fines, pay back taxes, get a background check, learn English, learn civics.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2013 series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 4, 2013

Earned legalization while respecting the rule of law

Q: You have said that you would support an immigration bill that included a pathway for citizenship, correct?

RYAN: Yes, absolutely, because we think there's a way to do this through earned legalization without rewarding people for having come in with undocumented status, illegally. We don't want to give them an advantage over those who came here legally and we think there's a way to do this while still respecting the rule of law. It's clear that what the president is talking about does not do that. I have a long record of immigration reform. I'm not a Johnny-come-lately on this issue. We've always believed that there is a way of doing this while respecting the rule of law, that's the delicate balance that needs to be achieved for this to be bipartisan and the president on most of these issues and this one now, like the others, seems to be looking for a partisan advantage and not bringing the parties together.

Source: ABC This Week 2013 interviews: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Feb 17, 2013

Demand enforcement of immigration laws, without amnesty

It is abundantly clear that our immigration system is broken, and Congress' efforts to reform our broken system have failed. I have supported past efforts to strengthen our immigration laws and demanded enforcement of them, opposing any proposals that include amnesty for those that have violated our laws. We need solutions that preserve the rule of law and do not reward illegal behavior. Illegal immigration, which is a direct result of this flawed system, is an affront to the rule of law and an unacceptable security risk
Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

Make border fence construction a top priority

Operational control of our borders should be among the highest priorities of Congress. Every nation has the right to control entry and exit across its border. Porous borders leave us susceptible to the illegal crossing of terrorists, drug lords, and gang members, placing our homeland security in serious jeopardy. I have been a vocal proponent in calling upon Congress to make border fence construction a top priority, and will continue working toward enforcement of our nation's borders.
Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

More employer penalties but no "big brother" database

In order to allow employers to easily and accurately verify an employee's legal status in a timely matter, I have introduced the New Employee Verification Act. This bipartisan proposal protects an employee's information from identity theft while creating a verification tool that is accurate, secure, and immediate. It provides enhanced employer penalties for those who knowingly violate our laws and avoids a "big brother" law enforcement agency building new databases on law abiding citizens.
Source: 2012 House campaign website, ryanforcongress.com, "Issues" , Aug 11, 2012

Voted YES 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 two-layered reinforced fencing, and for the rest of the border provides a virtual fence, via integrated surveillance technology.

Opponents support voting NO because:

Just to build the fence is going to cost us at least $7 billion. Where is the money coming from to pay for it? How much is it going to cost to maintain this 700-mile fence? Who is going to do it? This bill contains no funding.

This bill also ignores real enforcement measures, like hiring more Border Patrol personnel, and instead builds a Berlin Wall on our southern border. So long as employers need workers in this country, and while our immigration systems impede rather than facilitate timely access of willing workers to those opportunities, undocumented immigration will never be controlled.

Walls, barriers, and military patrols will only force those immigrants to utilize ever more dangerous routes and increase the number of people who die in search of an opportunity to feed and clothe their families.

Reference: Secure Fence Act; Bill H R 6061 ; vote number 2006-446 on Sep 14, 2006

Voted YES on preventing tipping off Mexicans about Minuteman Project.

Voting YES on this amendment supports the Minuteman Project, a group of volunteers who have taken on surveillance of the Mexican border for illegal immigrants. The amendment states that US funds will not be used to tell the Mexican government about the whereabouts of the Minuteman Project volunteers. Proponents of the Minuteman Project say that they are volunteer citizens doing what the federal government SHOULD be doing, but has failed to do. Opponents of the Minuteman Project say that they are vigilantes at best and anti-Mexican racists at worst. The amendment states:
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide a foreign government information relating to the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona, unless required by international treaty.
Reference: Department of Homeland Security appropriations; Bill HR 5441 Amendment 968 ; vote number 2006-224 on Jun 6, 2006

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

Rated 0% by FAIR, indicating a voting record loosening immigration.

Ryan scores 0% by FAIR on immigration issues

The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, non-profit, public interest membership organization of concerned citizens united by their belief in the need for immigration reform. Founded in 1979, FAIR believes that the U.S. can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country.

FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interestómore traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.

With more than 70,000 members nationwide, FAIR is a non-partisan group whose membership runs the gamut from liberal to conservative.

The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.

Source: FAIR website 03n-FAIR on Dec 31, 2003

Comprehensive immigration reform without amnesty.

Ryan 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

Rated 83% by USBC, indicating a sealed-border stance.

Ryan scores 83% by USBC on immigration issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:

About USBC (from their website, www.usbc.org):

U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.

Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.

Source: USBC website 06n-USBC on Dec 31, 2006

2012 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Immigration: Paul Ryan on other issues:
WI Gubernatorial:
Scott Walker
WI Senatorial:
Tammy Baldwin

Newly-elected Democrats taking office Jan.2015:
AZ-7: Rep.-Elect Ruben Gallego
CA-11:Rep.-Elect Mark DeSaulnier
CA-31:Rep.-Elect Pete Aguilar(R⇒D)
CA-33:Rep.-Elect Ted Lieu
CA-35:Rep.-Elect Norma Torres
FL-2: Rep.-Elect Gwen Graham(R⇒D)
HI-1: Rep.-Elect Mark Takai
MA-6: Rep.-Elect Seth Moulton
MI-12:Rep.-Elect Debbie Dingell
MI-14:Rep.-Elect Brenda Lawrence
NE-2: Rep.-Elect Brad Ashford(R⇒D)
NJ-12:Rep.-Elect Bonnie Coleman
NY-4: Rep.-Elect Kathleen Rice
PA-13:Rep.-Elect Brendan Boyle
VA-8: Rep.-Elect Donald Beyer
Seated in special elections 2013-2014:
AL-1: Bradley Byrne(R)
FL-13:David Jolly(R)
FL-19:Curt Clawson(R)
IL-2: Robin Kelly(D)
LA-5: Vance McAllister(R)
MA-5: Katherine Clark(D)
MO-8: Jason Smith(R)
NC-12:Alma Adams(D)
NJ-1: Donald Norcross(D)
SC-1: Mark Sanford(R)
VA-7: Dave Brat(R)

Newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
AR-2: Rep.-Elect French Hill
AR-4: Rep.-Elect Bruce Westerman
AL-6: Rep.-Elect Gary Palmer
CA-25:Rep.-Elect Steve Knight
CA-45:Rep.-Elect Mimi Walters
CO-4: Rep.-Elect Ken Buck
FL-26:Rep.-Elect Carlos Curbelo(D⇒R)
GA-1: Rep.-Elect Buddy Carter
GA-10:Rep.-Elect Jody Hice
GA-11:Rep.-Elect Barry Loudermilk
GA-12:Rep.-Elect Rick Allen(D⇒R)
IA-1: Rep.-Elect Rod Blum(D⇒R)
IA-3: Rep.-Elect David Young
IL-10:Rep.-Elect Robert Dold(D⇒R)
IL-12:Rep.-Elect Mike Bost(D⇒R)
More newly-elected Republicans taking office Jan.2015:
LA-5: Rep.-Elect Ralph Abraham
LA-6: Rep.-Elect Garret Graves
ME-2: Rep.-Elect Bruce Poliquin(D⇒R)
MI-4: Rep.-Elect John Moolenaar
MI-8: Rep.-Elect Mike Bishop
MI-11:Rep.-Elect Dave Trott
MN-6: Rep.-Elect Tom Emmer
MT-0: Rep.-Elect Ryan Zinke
NC-6: Rep.-Elect Mark Walker
NC-7: Rep.-Elect David Rouzer(D⇒R)
NH-1: Rep.-Elect Frank Guinta(D⇒R)
NJ-3: Rep.-Elect Tom MacArthur
NV-4: Rep.-Elect Cresent Hardy(D⇒R)
NY-1: Rep.-Elect Lee Zeldin(D⇒R)
NY-21:Rep.-Elect Elise Stefanik(D⇒R)
NY-24:Rep.-Elect John Katko
OK-5: Rep.-Elect Steve Russell
PA-6: Rep.-Elect Ryan Costello
TX-4: Rep.-Elect John Ratcliffe
TX-23:Rep.-Elect Will Hurd
TX-36:Rep.-Elect Brian Babin
UT-4: Rep.-Elect Mia Love(D⇒R)
VA-10:Rep.-Elect Barbara Comstock
WA-4: Rep.-Elect Dan Newhouse
WI-6: Rep.-Elect Glenn Grothman
WV-2: Rep.-Elect Alex Mooney
WV-3: Rep.-Elect Evan Jenkins(D⇒R)
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