Mike Pence on Immigration

Republian nominee for Vice President; Governor of Indiana; former Representative (IN-6)


Require temporary workers to learn American language

According to a Mike Pence press release, "'And if they come under the color of the law, we must require temporary workers to learn the language of the American people." [Congressional Press Releases, 5/15/07]

"The Pew Hispanic Center estimates that twelve million illegal aliens are currently living in America. Just a few months ago, that estimate was eleven million. In a few more months or years, that estimate will grow to thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, twenty or more million illegal aliens, unless we do something to turn the tide. And, we must do something because this is a problem of epic proportions. It is a problem that threatens the very fabric of America." [Congressional Press Releases, 5/23/06]

Source: Trump Research Book on Mike Pence , Sep 22, 2020

Opposed SCHIP expansion for elimination of citizenship proof

According to a Mike Pence press release obtained via Congressional Press Releases, "U.S. Representative Mike Pence (R-IN) today announced his opposition to a major expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), highlighting a provision in the bill that eliminates a requirement that anyone applying for Medicaid and SCHIP services provide proof of U.S. citizenship." [Congressional Press Releases, 8/1/07]
Source: Trump Research Book on Mike Pence , Sep 22, 2020

National security starts with border security

Pence: This president knows that national security starts with border security. Under the president's leadership, we made historic investments to secure our border and end the crisis of illegal immigration. Mexico is doing more than ever before to secure our southern border, and apprehensions are down by 80% in the last 12 months. And we have already started to build that wall on the southern border of the United States.

Crowd: Build that wall!

Pence: We are building it. we are building it.

Source: Remarks by V.P. Pence at the 2020 CPAC Conference , Feb 27, 2020

Lump sum payments to temporary workers to leave U.S.

Pence started work on comprehensive immigrant reform. In 2006, a fix seemed imminent. Pence didn't think immigrants should be rewarded for breaking the law, but he also wanted something on the books. They emerged with a plan to boost border security, grant temporary work visas to immigrants, and encourage them to leave the United States after a few years by offering up lump sums from their Social Security benefits. It bridged the gap between far right conservatives angry at an influx of immigrants from Central America and moderate, pro business Republicans, led by the Bush White House. But the politics between the two sides proved trickier than Pence ever imagined. Hard-line conservative groups ran attack ads against him back home in Indiana, dubbing the plan, "Backdoor Amnesty." Pence eventually dropped the effort, after a long two years, when it became clear that no immigration effort of any stripe was likely to clear the House or Senate.
Source: Piety & Power, by Tom LoBianco, p.144-5 , Sep 14, 2019

Conditions at borders is fault of Democrats in Congress

When the President declared a national emergency, we were asking Congress to give us more bed space. Democrats in Congress refused. We've asked for more bed space we've asked for more support. The system is overwhelmed. We're doing a lot with what the Congress has given us. They continue to delay efforts on additional humanitarian support.
Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview , Jun 23, 2019

Close asylum loopholes: 90% don't show up in court

Q: What is to be done about asylum seekers who enter the country as refugees?

Pence: We want to end the days where people believe they can come into the country, make a claim of asylum from oppression or deprivation or violence in Central America or elsewhere, and then be released into the country on their own recognizance, only to vanish into the nation with 90% of the people never show up for their hearing in the months ahead. We have got to close the loopholes.

Q: I don't think that that number is accurate about 90 percent not showing up. I think a majority do show up.

Pence: People with a hearing that is scheduled six months, a year, 18 months later, the overwhelming majority, plus-90 percent, don't show up.

Source: CNN State of the Union 2019 interview , Jun 23, 2019

Asked for humanitarian help, Congress continues to delay

Q: Some of the conditions at the border have been described as "crisis level" in the facilities that the United States is running. Is that acceptable?

PENCE: It's totally unacceptable. Customs and Border Patrol agents are being overwhelmed by hundreds of thousands of people coming across our border to take advantage of loopholes in our laws. We've asked for more bed space; we've asked for more support. We're doing a lot with what the Congress has given us. Congress refused to increase the bed space in the last appropriations bill. They continue to delay efforts on additional humanitarian support.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2019 interview series , Jun 23, 2019

Unsecured Mexican border is a national emergency

Every day we don't secure our border, we're allowing the crisis to worsen, more lives to be endangered, and more people to be exploited, and more drugs to flow into our country. That's why President Trump used his authority under the law to declare a national emergency on our southern border. We call on every member of Congress: Stand up for border security, stop playing politics with the security of the American people, and stand with President Trump for a stronger and safer America.
Source: White House press release, "Remarks at CPAC 2019" , Mar 1, 2019

Muslim-country ban has solid constitutional foundation

Q: A federal judge has now blocked the executive order on immigration. Is it time to start over?

PENCE: It is not time to start over at all. During the course of the campaign and since the outset of this administration, President Trump has made it clear he is going to use his authority as president under the law to put the safety and security of the American people first, especially when it comes to protecting this country from the threat that radical Islamic terrorism poses. The executive order is on a solid constitutional and statutory foundation. One court in Boston confirmed that. Another court in Washington came to a different decision. But we are very confident that, as we move through the process of these appeals, that the president's authority in this area will be upheld. In this case, the president used a list the Obama administration and the Congress identified of seven countries compromised by terrorism. It is within his authority to do it.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2017 interview by John Dickerson , Feb 5, 2017

Travel ban is constitutional & judges shouldn't overturn it

Q: Is there a danger to the U.S. now that these banned immigrants and refugees are again allowed to travel to the U.S.? And what do you think about the federal appeals court's decision not to allow the travel ban?

PENCE: President Trump has made it clear that he is going to put the safety and security of the American people first. And the executive order that he signed suspending travel from countries that have been compromised by terror is consistent with that objective, and also it's consistent with his powers as president.

Q: But a federal court of appeals--

PENCE: We believe the judge made the wrong decision. We're going to continue to use all legal means at our disposal to stay that order and move forward to take the steps necessary to protect our country. We don't appoint judges to our district courts to conduct foreign policy or to make decisions about the national security. That authority belongs to the president of the United States.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2017 interview by Chris Wallace , Feb 5, 2017

Obama certified 7 Muslim countries compromised by terrorism

Q: Is it time to say about the controversial travel ban from 7 Muslim countries, "Rescind the order. Go through Congress"?

PENCE: Pres. Trump has made it clear he's going to put the safety and security of the American people first. And using a list of countries that the Obama administration and the Congress have certified were compromised by terrorist influence, seven different countries, is consistent with the President's commitment to do just that.

Q: But on this travel ban, no Egypt, no Saudi Arabia. No Pakistan, no Afghanistan. Why weren't those countries included? Because you wanted that Obama talking point.

PENCE: Well, no. It was done because both the Congress and the prior administration identified seven countries, one in Syria, torn asunder by civil war, and the other six--these are countries that do not have the internal systems in place so that we can be confident today that, when people present themselves for access to the United States, that they are who they say they are.

Source: Meet the Press 2017 interview by Chuck Todd , Feb 5, 2017

Immigrant ban focuses on safety of Americans, not niceties

Q: President Trump's immigration ban was overturned by a federal judge, whom Trump described as a "so-called judge."

PENCE: The administration is complying with that order, and we'll go through the process in the courts to implement this action that is entirely focused on the safety and security of the American people. The Obama administration identified these seven countries repeatedly as compromised by terrorism. And so by putting a pause in for all these countries, we can assure that anyone that's coming here doesn't represent a threat to our families and our communities.

Q: There's been a chorus of criticism of this ban. Could it have been done better?

PENCE: I think the early days of this administration are going to be described in the history books as days of action. The American people welcome the decisiveness that President Trump has shown on this issue, putting the safety and secretary of the American people above the niceties of communicating with people in Washington.

Source: ABC This Week 2017 interview by George Stephanopoulos , Jan 15, 2017

No subsidized healthcare nor tuition for illegal immigrants

Q: Should illegal immigrants have access to government-subsidized healthcare?

Mike Pence's answer: No

Tim Kaine's answer: Yes

Evan McMullin's answer: No

Q: Should illegal immigrants be offered in-state tuition rates at public colleges within their residing state?

Mike Pence's answer: No

Tim Kaine's answer: Yes

Evan McMullin's answer: No

Source: iSideWith.com analysis of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Nov 1, 2016

Focus on border security and removing criminal aliens

KAINE: Donald Trump has said it--"deportation force." They want to go house to house and kick out 16 million people.

PENCE: That's nonsense. We have a deportation force. It's called Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. And the union for ICE endorsed Donald Trump to be the next president.

KAINE: So you like the 16 million deportations?

PENCE: That's nonsense. [Your plan is] for open borders & amnesty.

KAINE: Our plan is like Ronald Reagan's plan from 1986.

PENCE: They call it comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill--but it's amnesty. Ronald Reagan said a nation without borders is not a nation. Donald Trump is committed to restoring the borders of this nation.

Q: So how would these millions of undocumented immigrants leave? Would they be forcibly removed?

PENCE: Donald Trump laid out a series of priorities that begins with border security. And after we secure the border, build a wall, we do internal enforcement. The focus has to be on criminal aliens.

Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University , Oct 4, 2016

End sanctuary cities; those policies drive wages down

Q: What would you tell the millions of undocumented immigrants who have not committed violent crimes?

A: Trump has laid out a plan to end illegal immigration once and for all in this country. We've been talking it to death for 20 years. Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine want to continue the policies of open borders, amnesty, catch and release, sanctuary cities--all the things that are are driving wages down in this country, and also too often with criminal aliens in the country, it's bringing heartbreak. But Trump has a plan that he laid out in Arizona, that will deal systemically with illegal immigration, beginning with border security, internal enforcement. Trump has laid out a priority to remove criminal aliens, remove people that have overstayed their visas. Once we have accomplished all of that, which will strengthen our economy, strengthen the rule of law in the country and make our communities safer once the criminal aliens are out, then we'll deal with those that remain.

Source: 2016 Vice-Presidential Debate at Longwood University , Oct 4, 2016

Return to country of origin before illegals get citizenship

Pence's record in the House: Pence supported proposals to allow illegal aliens to gain legal status, even while denying that such policies amount to amnesty. During the 2007 debate on amnesty legislation, Pence originated the idea of requiring illegal aliens to leave the country and then being permitted to return legally--an idea that Donald Trump has flirted with during the course of his presidential campaign. Pence voted against the DREAM Act amnesty and generally championed measures aimed at enforcing immigration laws.

Pence's record as Governor: Pence has had to deal with the effects and the costs of our nation's failed immigration policies. He publicly blamed Obama administration policies for the surge of unaccompanied alien minors entering the US. In addition, he challenged Pres. Obama's illegal use of executive power to grant de facto amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, joining with Texas & 24 other states in a lawsuit that blocked two sweeping Obama executive amnesty programs

Source: FAIR website, ImmigrationReform.com on 2016 Veepstakes , Jul 15, 2016

Offensive & unconstitutional to ban Muslims from entering US

Pence has previously taken issue with some of Trump's national security proposals, calling his proposal to ban Muslim foreigners from entering the U.S. "offensive and unconstitutional" in a December tweet.
Source: CNN.com 2016 Veepstakes, "Pence foreign policy" , Jul 15, 2016

Temporarily suspend immigration from terrorist havens

"I am very supportive of Donald Trump's call to temporarily suspend immigration from countries where terrorists represent a threat to the United States," Pence said. Pence insisted that "we got to do something different." "The American people need to know who these people are. We have a proud tradition of refugee resettlement in my own state of Indiana -- but that has to be subordinated to the safety and security of the American people."
Source: Fox News on 2016 Veepstakes, "Pence echoes Trump" , May 21, 2016

Suspend the relocation of any more Syrian refugees

Republican Gov. Mike Pence announced that he was ordering state agencies to suspend the relocation of any more Syrian refugees to Indiana until he receives assurances from the federal government that proper security measures have been taken.
Source: ABC News on Syrian Refugee Crisis , Nov 16, 2015

Executive action deferring deportation is unconstitutional

Q: The immigration bill that will be debated this week--some governors are calling for a clean bill. Dig the immigration streaking provisions out of it. What do you say?

PENCE: Well, look, the executive action the president took late last year was clearly an unconstitutional end run around the law making authority of the Congress of the United States. The president has the authority under the Constitution to determine how he will implement the law. He does not have the authority to determine whether he will implement the law. And now a federal district judge has ruled to put an injunction in place.

Q: Bottom line?

PENCE: My bottom line is that we need to protect the homeland. We also need to protect the Constitution. And I think that the Congress using the power of the purse is altogether appropriate [killing Obama's executive action by defunding it] The House has acted, and will put a bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security on the president's desk.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 interview by John Roberts , Feb 22, 2015

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 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 100% by FAIR, indicating a voting record restricting immigration.

Pence scores 100% 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

Rated 92% by USBC, indicating a sealed-border stance.

Pence scores 92% 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

End Birthright Citizenship; no more anchor babies.

Pence signed H.R.1868

    Amends the Immigration and Nationality Act to consider a person born in the United States "subject to the jurisdiction" of the United States for citizenship at birth purposes if the person is born in the United States of parents, one of whom is:
  1. a U.S. citizen or national;
  2. a lawful permanent resident alien whose residence is in the United States; or
  3. an alien performing active service in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Acknowledge the right of birthright citizenship established by section 1 of the 14th amendment to the Constitution, regarding a person born in the United States.

The amendment made by subsection (a)(3) shall not be construed to affect the citizenship or nationality status of any person born before the date of the enactment of this Act.

[OnTheIssues note: This bill would change the existing interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which currently defines as a US citizen any person born within US territory. This bill intends to remove the right of illegal aliens to gain US citizenship by bearing children while in the country illegally; the issue is known by bill supporters as "anchor babies"]

Source: Birthright Citizenship Act 09-HR1868 on Apr 2, 2009

Declare English as the official language of the US.

Pence co-sponsored declaring English as the official language of the US

This bill declares English as the official language of the United States, establishes a uniform English language rule for naturalization.

  1. The United States is comprised of individuals from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds, and continues to benefit from this rich diversity.
  2. Throughout the history of the United States, the common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the English language.
  3. Federal Representatives of shall have an obligation to enhance the role of English as the official language of the Federal Government.
  4. The official functions of the Government of the United States shall be conducted in English.
  5. All citizens should be able to read and understand generally the English language text of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the laws of the US.
  6. All naturalization ceremonies shall be conducted in English.
Source: English Language Unity Act (H.R.997) 2007-HR997 on Feb 12, 2007

Other candidates on Immigration: Mike Pence on other issues:
2020 Presidential Candidates:
Pres.Donald Trump (R-NY)
V.P.Mike Pence (R-IN)
V.P.Joe Biden (D-DE)
Sen.Kamala Harris (D-CA)
CEO Don Blankenship (Constitution-WV)
CEO Rocky De La Fuente (R-CA)
Howie Hawkins (Green-NY)
Jo Jorgensen (Libertarian-IL)
Gloria La Riva (Socialist-CA)
Kanye West (Birthday-CA)

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Gov.Lincoln Chafee (Libertarian-RI)
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Zoltan Istvan (Libertarian-CA)
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Ian Schlackman (Green-MD)
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Gov.Bill Weld (Libertarian-NY,R-MA)

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Page last updated: Apr 29, 2021