Immigration and the Presidential Debate: Self Deportation vs Immigration Reform

By Gabriel Jack on October 18, 2012 • Elections

Forget Big Bird.Forget the “Binders full of women”.

The immigration issue was finally brought up by President Barack Obama and Republican Candidate, Ex-Governor Mitt Romney this last debate. We can see two very different paths of the immigration plan that each candidate has. And Romney’s plan is nothing but worrisome.

Mitt Romney – Self Deportation and STEM green cards

While Mitt Romney mentioned “we should staple a green card to the STEM diplomas of foreign students”, Kris Kobach happens to be Romney’s immigration adviser, who happened to write the infamous Arizona SB 70 immigration bill, now enacted law. His influence is clear when Romney mentioned that under his administration there would be no “amnesty” for the 12 million “undocumented illegals” who currently are living in the US. While President Obama mentioned that Romney’s plan is to make their lives so difficult and miserable that they would “self deport” to their country of origin.

Mitt Romney replied: “… self-deportation says let people make their own choice. What I was saying is, we’re not going to round up 12 million people, undocumented illegals, and take them out of the nation. Instead let people make their own choice. And if they — if they find that — that they can’t get the benefits here that they want and they can’t — and they can’t find the job they want, then they’ll make a decision to go a place where — where they have better opportunities.”

If Mitt Romney wins, he offered to pass an immigration reform bill during his inaugural year. What can we expect?

a) Before we can even consider an “immigration reform”, there is the issue with the 12 million undocumented immigrants. Romney mentioned no plan to offer them a path to legalization or any kind of relief.

b) Then he needs bipartisan support from Congress. This means, working with both the House and Senators of both parties to approve the proposed changes to the immigration system and sign them into new laws. Many things can happen depending obviously if the Senate remains under Democrat control and the House continues to have a Republican majority, or vice versa. Or if both are controlled by a single party.

c) The proposed Romney’s immigration plan includes eliminating the Diversity Lottery visa, which grants 55,000 immigrant visas to countries with low immigration rates to the US, and instead, used them in a program for STEM highly-skilled workers and give them permanent residency upon graduation.

d) Romney’s plan also includes eliminating the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) implemented by President Obama.

President Obama – DACA, DREAM Act and Immigration Reform

President Obama’s plan is to implement a comprehensive immigration reform that provides a path to citizenship to those who have no criminal record,learn English, pay back taxes and a fine. Also, provide a way for students and young immigrants who were brought to the United States when they were kids and went to school or are attending college or serving in the Military forces, defending our Country, to obtain their permanent residence.

Unlike Kris Kobach’s/Mitt Romney plan, President Obama wants to fix our broken immigration in a way that is fair for both legal immigrants who are currently waiting for their priority dates and to US residents and Citizens alike. Although his administration has removed more undocumented aliens with criminal convictions than any other administration, continue enforcing the border is a priority as well. Another important step is helping neighboring Mexico and Central America to improve the conditions of life in their regions and to help prevent the human smuggling and trafficking.


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