Search for...
OnTheIssuesLogo

Dennis Kucinich on Immigration

Democratic Representative (OH-10)


No vigilantism & no sending illegals home willy-nilly

Q: What should employers do when hiring and a workers documents do not appear to be in order?

A: Rely on the Constitution. We don’t encourage vigilantism in this country. We have due process, we have equal protection, we have habeas corpus. As I’ve said: Cancel NAFTA. Negotiate a new trade agreement with Mexico based on workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles. Give a path to legalization for the people who have been here. You can’t send them home willy-nilly.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR , Dec 4, 2007

Encourage the American people to reach out; learn languages

Q: Is this country gradually going to become more a Spanish-speaking country, and should we accept that?

A: I was able to defeat an English-only proposal in the Ohio Senate years ago when I pointed out our state’s founding documents were in German. We need to have our children learn languages. Why are we separating ourselves from the possibility of being able to merge with the world? An insular and isolated America doesn’t cut it. I’m talking about encouraging the American people to reach out.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR , Dec 4, 2007

There aren’t any illegal human beings

Q: In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, do you support driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants?

A: I take issue with your description of people being illegal immigrants. There aren’t any illegal human beings. They are undocumented. The best way to deal with this is cancel NAFTA and renegotiate the trade agreement with Mexico. You give people a path to legalization and make sure that you don’t criminalize their status any further. I take exception to the way you framed that question

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada , Nov 15, 2007

Promote Spanish as a second national language

Q: Would you be willing to promote Spanish as a second national language of the US?

A: Yes. When I was mayor of Cleveland, I made it a point to reach out to our Hispanic community in the city of Cleveland. And before that, 40 years ago, when I was a candidate for city council, it was the involvement in the Hispanic community that proved to create the circumstances for my election. So I have a deep understanding of the economic issues that people deal with.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

Build relationships between nations, not walls

Q: None of the 9/11 terrorists entered the US through the Mexican border. Why build a wall there in the name of national security?

A: First of all, a Kucinich administration will build relationships between nations, not walls. We need to move forward with an America that remembers where we came from, and immigration reform has to be central to it. That means there must be a path to legalization, because there are no illegal human beings. We have to start looking at our policies, which are aimed at separating people. Everyone here understands that the immigration acceleration occurred after the passage of NAFTA. I’ve said one of my first acts in office will be to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and go back to trade based on workers’ rights. And then we have a new trade agreement with Mexico, a trade agreement that strengthens America and Mexico and strengthens the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish , Sep 9, 2007

Sanctuary cities follow moral law if not federal law

Q: Would you allow “sanctuary cities” to ignore the federal law and provide sanctuary to these immigrants?

A: We’re forgetting who we are as Americans. You have to remember the message of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” We’re forgetting that.

Q: Would you allow these sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law?

A: Absolutely. You know what? There’s a moral law here. And the moral law says that the immigrants are being used and mistreated.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College , Sep 6, 2007

Stop blaming immigrants for our system of slave labor

Our policies and this big debate about immigration that has basically cowed the Senate into submission has ignored one fact, & that is that the immigrant workers who have come north of the border were there because after NAFTA passed, wages collapsed in Mexico, the peso dropped, and people were desperate to survive. So what happened? So they came north of the border and they were willing to work for next to nothing.

It is a blot on American history that we have maintained a system of slave labor, and now we’re blaming the immigrants for that. We can have sane immigration policies. But we have to stop blaming the victim.

We have to also make sure that we do not exclude people from an opportunity. Those who have been here, who have paid their taxes and paid their dues for the last decade need to have a chance to have a path to citizenship. They should not be told, after they’ve made their contribution to our economy, “No, we don’t want you anymore; go home,” because America is their new home.

Source: Take Back America 2007 Conference , Jun 20, 2007

Roadmap to citizenship for immigrants

Q: Should it become easier for undocumented foreign workers in the US to gain legal immigration status?

A: Yes. I will clear out the backlog in the naturalization process and offer immigrants a clear road map to citizenship. I will work with our partners in Mexico to normalize the flow of immigrants by forging an agreement on migration.

Source: Associated Press policy Q&A, “Immigration” , Jan 25, 2004

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 don’t 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 administration’s 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

Extend our arms to world-immigrant amnesty and more

Q: Is it realistic to think that, in the environment after 9/11, that we could legalize undocumented immigrants in this country?

KUCINICH: One of the tragedies of 9/11 is that we’ve forgotten who we are as a nation. In the fear that’s covered this country, we’ve forgotten about the optimism and hope that led so many people to sail under that light of Lady Liberty. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.

America must remember where we came from as a nation. And in doing that, we need to extend our arms once again to the world community and bring those, the tempest-tossed, to the US.

Yes, I’m for amnesty. Yes, I’m for legalization of status. Yes, I’m for broadening citizenship possibilities. Yes, I’m for enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act and making sure that those workers who come from Mexico have all of the protections of federal law and including universal health care.

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

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 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 NO 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

Voted NO 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

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

Kucinich 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 interest—more 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

Rated 0% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance.

Kucinich scores 0% 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: Dennis Kucinich on other issues:
OH Gubernatorial:
John Kasich
OH Senatorial:
Josh Mandel
Michael Pryce
Rob Portman
Sherrod Brown

Retiring to run for other office:

Running for President:
TX-14:Ron Paul(R)

Running for Mayor:
CA-51:Bob Filner(D)

Running for Governor:
IN-6:Mike Pence(R)
WA-1:Jay Inslee(D)

Running for Senate:
AZ-6:Jeff Flake(R)
CT-5:Chris Murphy(R)
FL-14:Connie Mack(R)
HI-2:Mazie Hirono(D)
IN-2:Joe Donnelly(D)
MO-2:Todd Akin(R)
MT-0:Dennis Rehberg(R)
ND-0:Rick Berg(D)
NM-1:Martin Heinrich(D)
NV-1:Shelley Berkley(D)
NY-9:Bob Turner(R)
WI-2:Tammy Baldwin(D)
Lost Primary 2012:
IL-16:Donald Manzullo(R)
NJ-9:Steven Rothman(D)
OH-2:Jean Schmidt(R)
OH-9:Dennis Kucinich(D)
PA-4:Jason Altmire(D)
PA-17:Tim Holden(D)
TX-16:Silvestre Reyes(D)

Retiring 2012:
AR-4:Mike Ross(D)
AZ-8:Gabby Giffords(D)
CA-2:Wally Herger(R)
CA-6:Lynn Woolsey(D)
CA-18:Dennis Cardoza(R)
CA-24:Elton Gallegly(D)
CA-26:David Dreier(R)
CA-41:Jerry Lewis(R)
IL-12:Jerry Costello(D)
IL-15:Timothy Johnson(R)
IN-5:Dan Burton(R)
KY-4:Geoff Davis(R)
MA-1:John Olver(D)
MA-4:Barney Frank(D)
MI-5:Dale Kildee(D)
NC-9:Sue Myrick(R)
NC-11:Heath Shuler(D)
NC-13:Brad Miller(D)
NY-5:Gary Ackerman(D)
NY-10:Ed Towns(D)
NY-22:Maurice Hinchey(D)
OH-7:Steve Austria(R)
OK-2:Dan Boren(D)
PA-19:Todd Platts(R)
TX-20:Charles Gonzalez(D)
WA-6:Norm Dicks(D)
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Main Page
Profile
OH politicians

Contact info:
Mailing Address:
Rayburn HOB 2445, Washington, DC 20515
Official Website
Phone number:
(202) 225-5871

Page last updated: Jun 10, 2012