Up until the final debate at Arizona State University, the issue of immigration had not been much discussed. Both presidential candidates know very well that illegal immigration is a hot button topic in our country, and each man is now trying to use it to his political advantage.
Since the eighties the Democratic Party has, in general, supported immigrants and has been for fair and just immigration laws.
However, there are those members of the party who claim that the presence of millions of undocumented immigrants undermines the bargaining power of the US born labor force.
On the other side, the Republican Party traditionally has been against immigrants, but is increasingly reaching out to the Latino population. Advocates of free markets within the party have flat out called for the opening of the borders.
BUSH ON IMMIGRATION.
Because of his policies, the Mexican border is now more secure. Proposed temporary guest-worker program, for up to 6 years (originally announced in Jan 2004) but is against amnesty for illegal workers.
Claims that our southern border is more secure now than before 9\11, partly due to his efforts, which include:
More than a thousand additional border control agents since he took office.
Unmanned vehicles patrolling the US-Mexico border.
KERRY ON IMMIGRATION.
Our southern border is now more of a security risk.
Would put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.
Proposes a comprehensive immigration reform bill with four major components:
Undocumented workers who have lived and worked in the U.S. for 5 years, pay taxes, and who are successfully screened for security purposes will be given a path to citizenship.
Eliminate the administrative backlog and delay, which have left many families divided.
Create a secure channel for a limited number of temporary workers to come into the United States.
Kerry would restore legal immigrants’ eligibility for health care, welfare and other government programs. (The 1996 welfare reform law made most legal immigrants, including those already in the United States for a number of years, ineligible for welfare, health care and other essential programs.)
Unfortunately, the reality is that little of significance will be done about immigration under either a Bush or Kerry administration. Immigration is an issue which is brought up when it is time to court voters; namely Latinos.
Kerry, like Bush, is also close to corporations and businesses that wish to continue their supply of cheap, exploitable labor. He speaks of a path to citizenship for hardworking undocumented immigrants, but how hard will he push for these proposals in Congress?
Bush proposed a temporary worker program in Jan. of 2004 (with no plan for becoming green card holders), but nothing at all has come of it. These gestures are mostly political pandering.
Democrats tend to be more immigrant friendly, but remember it was Reagan who gave undocumented workers amnesty in this country.
Republicans are better, though, at fanning the flames of immigrant hate. Immigration is an issue which needs to be addressed seriously, not simply with one-liners at election time.
Kerry promises more, but promises can be empty. For Bush, immigrants are to be courted for elections and also used as fodder. When the economy is not doing well, it is easy to blame illegal immigrants.
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