President Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney differ greatly on immigration, but both agree the process of applying for permanent residency or citizenship as a documented immigrant should be easier. During the second presidential debate, Obama and Romney voiced support for reducing the backlog of paperwork.
Romney added that he thought the existing immigration system should be streamlined and “clearer.” Obama stated that he is proud of the immigration reforms his administration has made in the past four years. He did not indicate that he would make additional changes immediately.
After the debate, Romney stated that he would not revoke 2-year deferrals on deportation and work permits awarded through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). Romney indicated that he would end DACA if he became president. Obama indicated that he would continue DACA.
During the debate, Romney stated that he would not grant amnesty to undocumented immigrants. Romney stated that he wanted to create a path to permanent residency for children of undocumented immigrants but he did not provide any specific details regarding how he would do this. Obama stated that he wanted to give “young people brought here by their parents” a pathway to citizenship.
Both candidates stated before the debate that they are interested in allowing more highly skilled immigrants to apply for visas and citizenship. During the debate, Romney stated that the U.S. should issue green cards to people who “graduate with the skills that we need,” especially those with accredited degrees in science and math. Would Romney follow through with this promise, when his policy advisor on Immigration was fundamental in drafting Arizona immigration legislation?
During the debate, Obama stated that a strong presence along the Mexican-American border has decreased the flow of undocumented workers into the United States. This statement suggests that Obama will continue to use border patrol agents and federal funds as a primary method to discourage individuals from immigrating to the U.S. Romney did not clarify his position on increasing or maintaining current measures for border control.
During the debate, Obama indicated that his administration has ranked deportations in order of priority. He stated that he has focused on deporting undocumented immigrants who are “criminals” and “gangbangers” rather than “students” and “folks…trying to feed their families.” Romney did not indicate that he would rank deportations.
Tomorrow, election day, will reveal which candidate will keep their political promises. We look forward to providing you with regular updates on new immigration policies