As the 2016 election draws closer, the party’s views on immigration are becoming increasingly important. With a larger and larger percentage of voters being immigrants, these policies have the ability to make or break an election. Even non-immigrants are beginning to view this as a larger issue. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found that 71 percent of Americans believe that there should be a road to amnesty for illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements.
The Democratic view on immigration is based on the idea that the United States is a country based on immigrants, and as such it should value and support its present and future immigrants. The 2012 Democratic Party Platform states, “the Democratic Party stands for comprehensive immigration reform that intelligently prioritizes our country’s security and economic needs.” Democrats believe that in order to embrace the diversity of our country, “we need to fix our broken immigration system.”
Democrats on Illegal Aliens
They believe in providing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, especially those who were brought here as children. They wish to greatly reform the current immigration laws, stating that “today’s immigration laws do not reflect our values or serve our security, and we will work for real reform. The solution is not to establish a massive new status of second-class workers; that betrays our values and hurts all working people. Undocumented immigrants within our borders who clear a background check, work hard and pay taxes should have a path to earn full participation in America.” Democrats do not believe that just any illegal immigrant should be provided amnesty or a path to citizenship. They state that undocumented workers who “are in good standing must admit that they broke the law, pay taxes and a penalty, learn English, and get right with the law before they can get in line to earn their citizenship.” Democrats do, however, support strong repercussions for those who exploit illegal labor. This process undermines American workers, and Democrats believe that those who do so need to be held accountable.
Democrats on Legal Immigrants
Democrats believe in providing priority to immigrants who already have family in the United States, in order to reunite families more quickly. They also hope to “offer more English-language and civic education classes so immigrants can assume all the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.” They support a reform of the INS, so that it can provide better services to immigrants. They support investing resources in the INS to reduce the wait time for immigrants, which currently sits at approximately two years, to a more reasonable timeline such as three months. Democrats believe in reforming asylum policies, believing that we should have “equitable asylum policies that treat people the same whether they have fled violence from the Right and Left.” They believe that immigrants are currently facing a lack of due process protections, and wish to see these protections restored, so that immigrants cannot face deportation due to minor offenses, “and are eligible to receive safety net services supported by their tax dollars.”
Democrats vs Republicans on Immigration
While Democrats believe in supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, Republicans support stronger border patrols and stronger repercussions for those caught in the U.S. illegally, as well as those who employ them or help them falsify documentation. Part of this discrepancy lies in the party’s views on immigrants themselves and their value to the country – 25 percent more Democrats than Republicans believe that immigrants strengthen the U.S. Democrats believe that “Republicans decided to play politics with it rather than do the right thing” when opposing the Dream Act, and have stated that, “Mitt Romney and the Republicans have opposed commonsense reforms and pandered to the far right.” The Obama administration’s website referred to the vote as “heartless,” stating that “these are hundreds of thousands of young people who grew up as Americans after being brought here as kids through no fault of their own,” and that “inaction in the House has cost our country nearly $12 billion.”
Barack Obama on Immigration
President Obama, along with his fellow Democrats, fought for the Dream Act, which is legislation that would allow young, productive residents of the United States to become legal residents, and eventually citizens. Republican opposition kept the Dream Act from being passed, but the Obama administration provided temporary options for those who were brought to the U.S. as children, and did not make the decision to come here illegally themselves. Democrats believe that, since these children grew up as Americans, they are well situated to benefit the country, and should be provided a route to citizenship.
In addition to supporting reform for illegal immigration policies, the Obama administration has been working towards more secure borders. Democrats state that the current administration has “dedicated unprecedented resources to securing our borders and reducing the flow of illegal traffic in both directions.”
Bill Clinton on Immigration
Former President Bill Clinton supports the ideals of his party on immigration. He believes that immigration and diversity are important, and points out the effect it has had on our nation by stating “today, largely because of immigration, there is no majority race in Hawaii or Houston or NYC. Within 5 years there will be no majority race in our largest state, California. In a little more than 50 years there will be no majority race in the US. No other nation in history has gone through demographic change of this magnitude in so short a time.” Clinton believes in reducing the wait time for immigration, supporting the allocation of resources to the INS to support this initiative. He supports initiatives to strengthen bilingual education, and to supply ballots and government communications in multiple languages. During his time as president, Clinton strengthened border patrols to prevent illegal immigration. He strongly supports strong punishments for those who hire illegal employees, and between 1993 and 1996, under the direction of President Clinton, border patrol removed over 30,000 illegal immigrants from jobs across the country.
- Democratic Party on Immigration – On The Issues
- Issues – Immigration Reform – Democrats.org
- Democrats See Immigrants as a Strength for the U.S., Republicans View Them as a Burden – Pew Research Center
- Immigration – Organizing For Action
- Republican Views on Illegal Immigration
- Taking A Closer Look At Boehner’s Immigration Plan
- Republican Views on Immigration
- Donald Trump On Immigration
- Democratic Views On A Border Wall
- Democratic Party Beliefs
- Democratic Views on Welfare
- Democratic View on Health Care
- Ted Cruz On The Issues
- Rand Paul On The Issues