The 2008 U.S. Presidential Candidates on National Immigration Reform

May 6th, 2008

Now is a time in which our country awaits much-needed immigration reform–countless immigrants within U.S. borders are uncertain of which steps to take toward citizenship, employers are concerned over their rights and obligations with respect to documentation of workers, and citizens of countries throughout the world postpone or cancel plans to work, live, or study in the U.S.—opting instead for Europe or Canada where immigration policies are more favorable.

As primaries to select party representatives for the 2008 U.S. presidential election have been held in 42 states at this article’s press time, the candidates have begun to paint a picture of their respective visions for national immigration reform.

It is vital to the health of our democracy and the future our nation that those who are eligible to vote be well-informed on the candidates’ agendas for U.S. immigration policy. If you are not certain whether you are registered to vote or whether primaries have occurred in a particular state, please contact your local city hall.

Below is a brief synopsis of the candidates’ immigration positions thus far—please educate yourself and your community and if you’re eligible, be sure to vote!

Hillary Clinton – Democratic Party
Barack Obama – Democratic Party
John McCain – Republican Party
Ron Paul – Republican Party
Mike Gravel – Democratic Party
Ralph Nader – Green Party

 

Hillary Clinton – Democratic Party

As of March 13, 2008, 1,497 delegates won (249 super delegates)

With respect to key elements of immigration reform, Hillary Clinton has stated the following: “As President, I will work to pass comprehensive immigration reform that includes five key elements. I believe we have to toughen security at our borders, by placing more people and technology there. I will ensure that my policy cracks down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants and applies strict penalties for those who exploit these workers. I think that we should work with local communities to deal with the consequences of a broken immigration system. I plan to work with our neighbors to the south to find ways to provide economic opportunities for their own people. And, lastly, I will make sure that my policy provides a path to earned legalization that requires people to learn English and pay fines.”

Senator Clinton supports agricultural jobs programs, but opposes guest worker programs that can lower wages of American workers or exploit immigrants. She supports making it easier for immigrants to bring families, advocates creating a new employment eligibility verification system, and opposes driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

Voting history on immigration issues:

  • Senator Clinton co-sponsored the Legal Immigration Children’s Health Improvement Act of 2007, which would lift the current waiting period of five (5) years for federal health care benefits for legal immigrants.
  • She voted yes on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which would have created a guest worker program and addressed border security issues.
  • She also voted yes on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which created 700 miles of new fence along the U.S./Mexico border.

Barack Obama – Democratic Party

As of March 13, 2008, 1,602 delegates won (212 super delegates)

With respect to his top three priorities on immigration, Barack Obama has stated the following: “We need to work in a bipartisan way to achieve comprehensive immigration reform. First, on security, comprehensive reform has to mean gaining operational control of our borders by using better technology, improving infrastructure, and making smart choices about where we deploy resources on the Southern and Northern borders. These actions can strengthen our security while discouraging people from taking the risk of crossing the border illegally.

Second, at the workplace, we need a simple, but mandatory electronic system that enables employers to verify the legal status of the people they hire. Third, we need to bring the 12 million undocumented people out of the shadows. We need to be realistic about the fact that they are here, we can’t deport them, and they have become an integral part of our society. We need to give this population a chance to pay a fine, to have provisional status in the country, and to get into the back of the line for citizenship.”

Senator Obama supports guest worker programs but would like immigrant workers to be less dependent on employers to stay in the country. He supports granting driver’s licenses to illegal immigrants.

Voting history on immigration issues:

  • Senator Obama co-sponsored the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2007, which would allow states to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition for higher education and let the homeland security secretary confer legal resident status on some illegal immigrant students.
  • He also co-sponsored the Citizenship Promotion Act of 2007, which would require the federal government to freeze the fee that legal immigrants pay for each application for services at current levels and called for $80 million a year to promote citizenship.
  • Like Senator Clinton, Senator Obama voted yes on the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which would have created a guest worker program and addressed border security issues.
  • Also like Senator Clinton, he also voted yes on the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which created 700 miles of new fence along the U.S./Mexico border.

John McCain – Republican Party

As of March 13, 2008, 1,334 delegates won (132 unpledged delegates)

With respect to his top three priorities on immigration, Senator John McCain has stated the following: “As president, I will secure the border. I will restore the trust Americans should have in the basic competency of their government. A secure border is an essential element of our national security. Tight border security includes not just the entry and exit of people, but also the effective screening of cargo at our ports and other points of entry.

We can further strengthen our border security if we pursue policies that recognize the importance of building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America who reject the siren call of authoritarians like Hugo Chavez, support freedom and democracy, and seek strong domestic economies with abundant economic opportunities for their citizens. Furthermore, our policies must promote robust economic growth – by keeping government spending in check, holding down taxes, and cutting unnecessary regulatory burdens — so American businesses can hire and pay the best. They must recognize the importance of a flexible labor market to keep employers in business and our economy on top. It should provide skilled Americans and immigrants with opportunity.

Our education system should ensure skills for our younger workers, and our retraining and assistance programs for displaced workers must be modernized so they can pursue those opportunities. Our policies must also recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population, which includes learning English, American history and civics, and respecting the values of a democratic society — and that America will always be that ‘shining city upon a hill,’ a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life built on hard work and optimism.”

Senator McCain supports a path of legalization for illegal immigrants that includes paying fines and learning English.

Voting history on immigration issues:

  • Like Senator Obama, Senator McCain co-sponsored the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act of 2007, which would allow states to give illegal immigrants in-state tuition for higher education and let the homeland security secretary confer legal resident status on some illegal immigrant students.
  • Senator McCain co-sponsored a plan that Senators Obama and Clinton both voted yes on—the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which would have created a guest worker program and addressed border security issues.
  • Also like Senators Clinton and Obama, Senator McCain voted yes on the “Secure Fence Act of 2006,” which created 700 miles of new fence along the U.S./Mexico border.

Ron Paul – Republican Party

As of March 5, 5 delegates won

U.S. Representative Ron Paul has stated that his six point plan on immigration reform is to “This is my six point plan: (1) Physically secure our borders and coastlines… , (2) Enforce visa rules… . This is especially important when we recall that a number of 9/11 terrorists had expired visas; (3) No amnesty. Estimates suggest that 10 to 20 million people are in our country illegally. That’s a lot of people to reward for breaking our laws; (4) No welfare for illegal aliens. Americans have welcomed immigrants who seek opportunity, work hard, and play by the rules. But taxpayers should not pay for illegal immigrants who use hospitals, clinics, schools, roads, and social services; (5) End birthright citizenship. As long as illegal immigrants know their children born here will be citizens, the incentive to enter the U.S. illegally will remain strong; (6) pass true immigration reform…. Legal immigrants from all countries should face the same rules and waiting periods.”

Mike Gravel – Democratic Party

Former Alaska Senator Mike Gravel states that he “favors protecting our borders and monitoring the flow of immigrants into our country. He also favors a “guest worker program and setting up naturalization procedures that would fairly bring immigrants into legal status. America must address the root cause of illegal immigration… The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) has been a disaster for the working class of both the U.S. and Mexico and a boon to the international corporate interests….”

Ralph Nader – Green Party

With respect to immigration reform, Nader has been reported to have said that “[t]he first stage for our immigration policy is stop supporting oligarchs, dictatorships, authoritarian regimes that drive people to leave their native lands out of economic desperation or political repression…. We cannot have open borders… . One way is to provide work permits for people who come in and do work for short periods of time that Americans don’t want to do instead of criminalizing the border….” Nader has also been reported to support a guest worker program, “under work permits, so everything is above board. So they are not exploited…. Farm labor, whether American or unlawful immigrants, don’t have the protection under labor laws that industrial workers have. The idea is to bring all farm labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.”

Sources:

See “Election Guide 2008,” The New York Times (accessed March 13, 2008), available at
https://politics.nytimes.com/;

See also “Hillary for President” (accessed March 12, 2008), available at
https://www.hillaryclinton.com/splash/;

See also “Obama for America” (accessed March 12, 2008), available at
https://www.barackobama.com/;

See also “Mike Gavel for President 2008—Let the People Decide” (accessed March 13, 2008) available at
https://www.gravel2008.us;

See also “Ron Paul 2008-Hope for America” (accessed March 13, 2008), available at
https://www.ronpaul2008.com/issues/border-security-and-immigration-reform/;

See also “Candidates on the Issues” (accessed March 13, 2008), available at
https://www.ontheissues.org/2008/Ralph_Nader_Immigration.htm

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My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

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Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

Anonymous for Firm

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FitzGerald Law Company recently handled my immigration case for me and everything turned out great! The staff is excellent all the way from the secretary and assistant all the way up to the attorney. My attorney was Desmond Fitzgerald himself and he was excellent.

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My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

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I highly recommend Fitzgerald law company. The service was efficient, professional and precise. My lawyer, Juan Congote, helped me get through the green card process. I had zero problems and it was very fast. Juan was very meticulous with the documents until the very end. I really liked that!

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A very well organized firm, experienced and professional.

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Anonymous for Firm

They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments

A very professional and committed team...They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

Anonymous for Firm

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My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

Anonymous for Firm

They are on top of everything

The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

Anonymous for Firm

I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again

The lawyer did an excellent job, it was really wonderful and inspiring to have him as a lawyer, he truly handled my case and everything went as expected. They always call or sent me an email to inform me the progress of my case, I am always feel welcomed when I meet with them. I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again in the future.

Anonymous for Firm

I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer

Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

Anonymous for Firm

I really like that they speak so many languages and can help anyone!

FitzGerald Law Company recently handled my immigration case for me and everything turned out great! The staff is excellent all the way from the secretary and assistant all the way up to the attorney. My attorney was Desmond Fitzgerald himself and he was excellent.

Swarsatie R.

They have been very supportive and professional

My family and I have had an excellent experience with Desmond and his team at FitzGerald Law Company. They have been very supportive and professional, addressing our every concern. I feel fortunate to have found them and worked with them on my son's immigration case.

Yoseph A.

Highly recommend their services

My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

Natasha A.

They are on top of everything

The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

Patricia M.

The service was efficient, professional and precise

I highly recommend Fitzgerald law company. The service was efficient, professional and precise. My lawyer, Juan Congote, helped me get through the green card process. I had zero problems and it was very fast. Juan was very meticulous with the documents until the very end. I really liked that!

Valerio B.

A very well organized firm, experienced and professional.

My experience was exceptionally great. A very well organized firm, experienced and professional. Customer service was excellent and the lawyer that handled my case, Desmond Fitzgerald was the best. He was very thorough and very experienced. He knows what he's talking about. All in all, I had a positive experience and I highly recommend this company, especially Desmond Fitzgerald, he's awesome.

Mike A.

They helped me with a personal injury case

Highly recommend Mr Desmond Fitzgerald and his team. They helped me with a personal injury case. He was realistic about outcomes and professional and came through for me.

Garo M.

Experienced, professional, and caring

It was a great pleasure to have Mr. FitzGerald as my attorney. He was always there when I needed him. He is experienced, professional, and caring. I would recommend his services to anyone. I greatly appreciate what he did for me and would like to take the chance to express my gratitude to his hard work. Thank you very much Mr. FitzGerald. You'r the best...

Ahmed B.

Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case

Very professional and dedicated a lot of time to my case...kept me in the know throughout the whole process. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone looking for representation in a court case. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

James K.

He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly

Mr Desmond and his team did a remarkable job in immigration for my family and I. He explained things in a way that was easily understandable and things went smoothly. Highly recommended

Gassim F.

They made the process very smooth and pleasant

Desmond and his team did a great job during my husband’s green card application. Very diligent, reliable and knowledgeable. They made the process very smooth and pleasant. Highly recommended!

Karol S.

The team is wonderful, efficient and very helpful/ professional

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Zulia O.

They make the process as simple as possible

Our experience with the FitzGerald Law Company is beyond positive. They make the process as simple as possible and are there to help and support the entire time. Everyone we've been in touch from their office was nice and helpful. We won the case and we would definitely use their services again. Thank you Juan & the team!

Anonymous for Firm

They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments

A very professional and committed team...They put in a lot of time into my case all the while keeping me informed of any and all developments. I definitely recommend FitzGerald Law Company to anyone seeking legal representation. Thank you Desmond and the entire team.

Anonymous for Firm

Highly recommend their services

My husband and I reached out to FitzGerald Law Company, and we can only speak very highly of them. Very professional & reliable. I want to say big thanks to Desmond and Zrinka, who helped us throughout my immigration process. Highly recommend their services!

Anonymous for Firm

They are on top of everything

The Fitzgerald team is great and ready to help. They provide accurate information and never give a false picture of one's situation. They are on top of everything and work with you. The team are very thorough at what they do. I would highly recommend their legal services.

Anonymous for Firm

I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again

The lawyer did an excellent job, it was really wonderful and inspiring to have him as a lawyer, he truly handled my case and everything went as expected. They always call or sent me an email to inform me the progress of my case, I am always feel welcomed when I meet with them. I was very happy working with them and will be happy to work with them again in the future.

Anonymous for Firm

I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer

Desmond FitzGerald and his staff handles the daunting immigration legal paperwork with the utmost professionalism but always keeping the experience personal and realistic. I always felt that that I mattered. FitzGerald & Company has many payment options and they work with you to set up a payment plan which is affordable. {para}I would definitely recommend Desmond and FitzGerald & Company to anyone looking for a professional, trustful immigration lawyer.

Anonymous for Firm