Presidential Candidates' Differing Positions on Immigration

    Liliana Henao
    Comprehensive immigration reform, more border security and self-deportation are some of the terms used when talking about the controversial issue of illegal immigration in the United States. With the clock ticking until the next presidential election, both candidates have to clarify their specific plans to bring an estimated 11 million of undocumented immigrants out of the shadows.

    They sparred about it in their second debate, but while President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, believe the U.S. immigration system must be reformed, they don’t agree on how to achieve that.

    "I will not grant amnesty to those who’ve come here illegally, what I will do is I’ll put in place an employment verification system and make sure that employers that hire people who have come here illegally are sanctioned for doing so," said Romney.
     
    Katherine Vargas, Director of Communications with the National Immigration Forum, says the Republican candidate has not been specific.
     
    "He says he’s pro-immigration solutions but we don´t know what type of solutions. Self-deportation is not a solution, is simply make life as hard as possible for immigrants so they return to their countries. We know that he supports permanent residency for foreign students that graduate with science and technology degrees, but we don´t know what he´s going to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants that are currently in the country," said Vargas.
     
    Governor Romney has also been criticized for changing or softening his position on immigration. 

    “He has basically said that he favors congressional action, that he will take up immigration legislation if he’s president, that he will resolve the circumstances of the people that are in the Dream Act population, with legislation and a more permanent solution, but then, when he’s pressed on the issue, he is not in favor of any kind of permanent legal status for people who are here, even in the Dream Act circumstance, he has said, only if they enlist in the military," said Doris Meissner, a senior fellow with the Migration Policy Institute.

    President Obama, who gained the support of most of the U.S. immigrant population in the 2008 election, has been criticized for not fulfilling one of his campaign promises: to present a comprehensive immigration reform bill during his first year in office.

    "What President Obama is saying is that he is four square in favor of comprehensive immigration reform, in other words, a generous package that combines enforcement measures with the possibility of legal status for the unauthorized population that's in the United States," said Meissner.

    “But even so we haven´t seen details on how he´s going to accomplish that because he also promised it during his first presidential campaign, the most important thing we need to know is how he will win the Republican support, because he needs those Republican votes to have a comprehensive immigration reform bill approved," said Vargas.

    At the second presidential debate,  Obama defended his record.

    "If we’re going to go after folks who are here illegally we should do it smartly and go after folks who are criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the community, not after students," said Obama.

    Regardless of any changes in Congress, analysts some believe that the sharply opposing views of the candidates offer little hope of significant changes in U.S. immigration policy after November 6.

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.