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Obama announced this past week that the Department of Homeland Security will review roughly 300,000 immigration cases to see if these individuals are qualified for citizenship.
Controversy over these changes brings up the topic of what the leading GOP presidential candidates of 2012, Bachmann, Romney, and Perry think about this matter. Immigration reform and border control are vital issues for these candidates. They face losing valuable support from Hispanic voters in fundamental swing states such as New Mexico, Colorado, Nevada, and Florida if they do not have a plan that can accommodate them.
Rick Perry, governor of Texas, is no stranger to immigration, living right along the Mexican border. He has already provided in-state tuition to illegal immigrants to offer them the opportunity to gain citizenship through education.
He also supports citizenship through military participation. His primary focus, although dealing with many illegal immigrants already, is to secure the border first and secondly work on immigration reform.
Perry demonstrated his views on Immigration earlier this week in South Carolina, as he discussed the problems the federal government has in handling immigration. His explanation for this was that in Texas alone, he has spent 400 million dollars on border patrol, which is the responsibility of the government and not the state.
His campaign has also focused the issue of border patrol around protecting American citizens against violence spreading north of Mexico, and how securing the borders are the most important way to secure America’s defence. Perry has focused on the importance of border patrol to not only discontinue illegal immigrants but also to prevent gun and drug trafficking as well.
Romney, a candidate who also ran in the 2008 election advocated a different approach to illegal immigration. He took the stance of adopting biometrically-enabled identification cards, so illegal immigrants could be identified and prohibited to work. He also frowned upon McCain’s policy to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants in 2008, stating, “illegal immigration has got to end and any form of citizenship amnesty is troublesome.”
In his campaign in 2012, Romney will focus more on the responsibility of employers who were hiring illegal immigrants. He thinks that punishment directed at the employers of illegal immigrants, would improve job creation being taken away from citizens. When it comes down to the issue of how to handle immigrants who are in America illegally, Romney believes that they are not qualified for citizenship.
Bachmann, another leading GOP presidential candidate, advocates the full and speedy citizenship of immigrants that have entered the United States legally, but is intolerant on those who have come to America illegally.
She refers back to the bill passed in 1986, in which congress granted amnesty to over three million immigrants that entered the country illegally. The government has not made major changes since then and Bachmann proposes that congress should enforce the laws put in place, as well as stricter border patrol.
Bachmann, in 2008, dealt with the death of four children that were killed by an illegal immigrant in Minnesota, her hometown, and it will be fascinating to see how this impacts her position on illegal immigrants with criminal records.
The main focus surrounding Bachmann’s campaign ultimately welcomes legal immigrants, but she follows the laws of the land in making sure that immigrants that have come to the United States illegally are not rewarded or given a free pass.
This difficult and complex issue effecting millions throughout America will play a critical part in gaining support. It will be interesting to see how this taxing issue plays out within the next year throughout each candidates campaign and if policies will be modified to achieve the Hispanic vote in swing states.