A Party Divided: Where the Republican Candidates Stand on Immigration | The Nation

A Party Divided: Where the Republican Candidates Stand on Immigration

  • GOP Candidates and Immigration

    Gingrich, Perry, Romney, Paul and Santorum: GOP Candidates on Immigration (1 of 6)

    From sending predator drones to the border to allowing American Express to run our guest worker program, the Republican candidates for the presidential nomination have put out some questionable proposals for handling immigration to the US. But the candidates differ on many points (such as mass deportations and a border wall) as much as they agree on others (no amnesty!). So just where do Gingrich, Paul, Perry, Romney and Santorum stand on the issues when it comes to immigration?


    Credit: Reuters Pictures and AP Images

  • Newt Gingrich (2 of 6)

    Newt Gingrich’s immigration reform plan involves setting up citizen review boards to decide whether undocumented immigrants can receive residency, deporting up to nine million immigrants and outsourcing a guest worker program to “American Express, Visa or MasterCard so that you know that fraud is very unlikely.” Right. But the fact that he supports some kind of leniency on long-term US residents sets him apart from Romney and Santorum.


    “I am not for amnesty for anyone. I am not for a path to citizenship for anybody who got here illegally… But I am for a path to legality for those people whose ties are so deeply into America that it would truly be tragic to try and rip their family apart.”


    Credit: Reuters Pictures


  • Mitt Romney (3 of 6)

    The “moderate” Mitt Romney opposes immigration reform and wants to build a fence along the entire US border with Mexico. And a DREAM Act-style pathway to citizenship for students attending college in the United States or serving in the military? If elected president, Romney has vowed to veto it.


    “If they’ve brought a child to this country or they’ve had a child in this country, that’s, that’s wonderful that they’re growing their families, but that doesn’t mean that they all get to stay here indefinitely…. We have to secure our border, we have to make sure there’s an employment verification system to identify who’s here legally and who’s not. And then for the 12 million who’ve come here, welcome them to get in line with everybody else, but no special pathway.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • Rick Santorum (4 of 6)

    Rick Santorum’s grandfather came to the US from Italy, but that hasn’t softened Santorum’s stance on key immigration issues: He wants to lengthen the wall on our border with Mexico and to beef up security along the border with more National Guardsman. He also wants to eliminate benefits for undocumented immigrants and has voted against creating “path to citizenship” programs. He even wants to make English the official language of the US.  


    On mass deportations: “We’re not sending them to Siberia. We’re not sending them to any kind of, you know, difficult country. They’re going to Mexico, which is a great country, a nice country. And they can go back like every other Mexican that wants to come to America and come here legally.”


    Credit: AP Images

  • Ron Paul (5 of 6)

    Ron Paul opposes any government subsidies or benefits for undocumented immigrants, which isn’t too far off from his stance on benefits for everyone else. He proposed amending the constitution to deny birthright citizenship to children born of non-US citizen parents and he’s definitely against the DREAM Act. But Paul goes against the Republican party line by opposing a more militarized border and saying mass deportation wouldn’t be feasible.


    “But the people who want big fences and guns, sure, we can secure the borders—a barbed-wire fence with machine guns, that would do the trick. I don't believe that's what America is all about. I just really don't.


    Credit: AP Images


  • Rick Perry (6 of 6)

    That Rick Perry dropped out of the running for the nomination today may have had something to do with the fact that he has taken a lot of right-wing flack for legislation he passed as governor of Texas that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition. He may be overcompensating now by opposing the federal DREAM Act and advocating for increasing the number of “predator drones” and patrolmen near the border.


    “I think it's time for a 21st century Monroe Doctrine… We're seeing countries start to come in and infiltrate. We know that Hamas and Hezbollah are working in Mexico, as well as Iran, with their ploy to come into the United States.”


    Check out The Nation's Politics section for more on the Republican contenders and their positions on the issues that matter.


    Erin Schikowski contributed research to this slide show. 


    Credit: AP Images


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