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Another intense GOP debate took place in Las Vegas, Nevada, that aimed at giving the nation another opportunity to get to know the candidates and their positions on certain topics. Throughout the night, finger-pointing was prevalent, especially surrounding the topic of illegal immigration.
As in past debates, illegal immigration was a significant topic of focus, but it was not only directed at Rick Perry. Instead, every candidate got a chance to voice their opinion. Perry has faced criticism over his previous policies on immigration, such as putting in place “magnets” that attract illegal immigrants.
During the Las Vegas debate, Perry turned the attention over to Romney’s lack of enforcement on illegal immigration. He started quite a quarrel when he brought up Romney’s personal record on the subject. He stated, “Mitt, you lose all of your standing, from my perspective, because you hired illegals in your home, and you knew about it for a year.
And the idea that you stand here before us and talk about how you’re strong on immigration is, on its face, the height of hypocrisy.” Romney responded that his lawn care service had illegal immigrants working for them, but were let go once he found out. Romney also proposed, as president, to set up an E-Verify System in which employers must check if their workers are legal and if their documents are real.
The other candidates have also had responses to immigration that have been voiced over the past few weeks, one being Herman Cain’s “electric fence” idea. Herman Cain, who is now taking the lead in many polls, was asked about his idea of building an electric fence along the entire border of Mexico.
While receiving a few laughs, he responded, “Allow me to give a serious answer. Yes, I believe we should secure the border for real, and it would be a combination of a fence, technology, as well as possibly boots on the ground, for some of the more dangerous areas.”
Michele Bachmann also agreed with the idea of a fence and was the first candidate to sign a pledge that would build a double-wedged fence across the border. Rick Perry is opposed to building a fence in his home state of Texas, because he has explained that it would take 10-15 years as well as $30 billion.
Bachmann pointed out the long-term solution of spending money to build a fence now, instead of continuing to have an open border, by stating, “Every year, it costs this country $113 billion in the costs that we put out to pay for illegal aliens. It costs the state and local government of that amount $82 billion.”
Ron Paul also responded to border patrol and illegal immigration by saying that the border lacks resources because they are instead being utilized overseas. “We worry more about the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan. We need to bring the guard units home and the units back here, so we can have more personnel on our borders.”
Immigration continues to be a topic of debate as well as an issue the entire country faces, but what the nation thinks about each candidate’s plans is still to come.