Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rep VP Nominee on Immigration: Enforcement Now, Enforcement Forever!

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has tapped Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan to be his running mate.  Ryan toes the standard Republican Party line on immigration today -- more enforcement, no "amnesty" for any undocumented immigrants, no DREAM Act, and a guest worker program to benefit employers. 

Here are some snippets from Ryan's congressional website:

"The vast majority of Americans agree that our immigration system is broken. . . . This issue [of undocumented immigration] persists as a result of our flawed immigration and border security system, is an affront to the rule of law, an unacceptable security risk, and an added burden to the current state of the economy. There are deeply held views on all sides of this issue, and rightly so. We are a nation of immigrants, and the vast majority of Americans agree that comprehensive immigration reform is long overdue. Far too many illegal immigrants continue to arrive in the United States, and those attempting to come to the country legally find themselves wrapped in endless paperwork and bureaucracy as a result. This broken immigration system does a disservice to those who play by the rules, rewards those who break them, and fails children who all-too-often fall between the cracks. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, it is clear that our current immigration system is not working.

However, I do not support amnesty for the millions of illegal immigrants already living in the United States. Any reform proposal must require that those who have disregarded the rule of law are not rewarded for their actions. In the end, I hope that with better border security and a more robust and up-to-date employee verification system, we will be able to stem the flow of illegal immigration and restore the rule of law.


The Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act, H.R. 1842 in the 112th Congress, has been introduced several times in recent years. . . .  While the DREAM Act has been promoted as an alternative to comprehensive reform, and I understand the points that DREAM Act supporters have raised, I believe this legislation attempts to treat a symptom – rather than the root cause – of our current problems. We must first secure the border and stem the flow of illegal immigration, and then work to increase legal immigration through an enforceable guest worker program and by developing a more secure employee verification system. I believe it would be a serious mistake to pursue piecemeal reforms like the DREAM Act without first putting in place these fundamental components of immigration reform.

Seasonal Labor

I believe that any reforms to immigration policies should include expanding access to visas for seasonal and temporary labor. . . .  Additionally, I believe a temporary guest worker program is one component of reform that could help us secure our borders and gain greater control of immigration. By providing a way to legally link employers with immigrant workers, we would relieve pressure on the borders from people who are coming here to seek work. This would allow us more time to pursue the people who mean to do us harm—criminals, terrorists, and drug smugglers.


. . . . New legislation addressing immigration policies should require illegal immigrants seeking a green card or citizenship to leave the United States and reapply for citizenship outside of the U.S., so that they can then re-enter the country legally, thus upholding the rule of law. Proposals like the “Z visa,” which would have allowed an illegal immigrant to stay in America indefinitely through continual renewals, are not an effective way of dealing with the problem. . . .


Although it does not appear likely that a comprehensive immigration bill will be taken up this year, I will continue to advocate for common sense reforms to our broken system. I believe that any immigration reform bill passed by Congress must first include strong border security provisions, an enforceable guest worker program, a secure employee verification system, and a system that does not reward illegal behavior, but provides equitable treatment for all immigrants. . . ."

Ryan generated controversy at a town hall meeting in 2011 (and here) in saying that "anchor babies cost money."


The NYS Immigrant Action Fund wonders aloud how Mitt Romney can select a running mate who uses a racist term.  Others no doubt will ask similar questions.

During the Republican primaries, Romney and Ryan spoke together on immigration.


Romney offers his standard immigration position ("I favor legal immigration and oppose illegal immigration") while Ryan generally agrees.  Interestingly, in his few moments speaking, Ryan focus on the problem of identity theft and its relationship to illegal immigration.


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