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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Immigration: What are the presidential candidates saying?

2011 November 28

By Julie Bissinger, Intern 


As the presidential primary campaign season continues, Republican candidates have sparred on a variety of issues, however one area of relative common ground is the topic of immigration.  Recently, candidates have explained their views on the issue in more detail and proposed changes to U.S. immigration policy, with the two most common themes being (1.) the perceived need to secure the U.S.-Mexico border and (2.) to eliminate factors that may attract undocumented immigrants to the United States. 

Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney argued during the Republican Presidential Debate at the Reagan Library that the U.S. needs to both secure its border with Mexico and eliminate factors that encourage undocumented immigration. Romney supports building a fence that spans the entirety of the U.S.-Mexico border, and said that “If we want to secure the border, we have to make sure we have a fence, technologically, determining where people are, enough agents to oversee it, and turn off that magnet.” Romney defined “magnets” as certain factors such as the hiring of undocumented immigrants, “sanctuary cities,” and college tuition breaks for undocumented students. Romney supports the use of the E-Verify system, which he says would “make sure that we can find out who’s here illegally and who’s not, and crack down on people who come here illegally.”

 Congresswoman Michele Bachmann also supports the construction of a border fence and the elimination of factors that she thinks encourage ...

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