As you all know, and as I’ve made very clear in this blog, I oppose illegal immigration. I see it as a threat to our national interest. It’s a threat to our economy. It’s a threat to our social safety net and our healthcare system. It’s a threat to law and order. It’s also a threat to our jobs. But, if you’re like me, you’re confused as to where the presidential candidates stand. Well, I’m going to eliminate some of that confusion for you. Below, you will find their positions--Republican and Democrat--on illegal immigration taken straight from their websites. I’ve also included their webpage if you want to learn more. I hope you’ll find this as eye-opening as I did.
First is the Republican, Governor Mike Huckabee:
On January 16, 2008 Governor Huckabee signed the Numbers USA: No Amnesty Pledge.
Governor Huckabee believes:
Securing our borders must be our top priority and has reached the level of a national emergency.
I support the $3 billion the Senate has voted for border security. This money will train and deploy 23,000 more agents, add four drone planes, build 700 miles of fence and 300 miles of vehicle barriers, and put up 105 radar and camera towers. This money will turn "catch and release" into "catch and detain" of those entering illegally, and crack down on those who overstay their visas.
In this age of terror, immigration is not only an economic issue, but also a national security issue. Those caught trying to enter illegally must be detained, processed, and deported. As Governor, I ordered my state troopers to work with the Department of Homeland Security to arrest illegals and enforce federal immigration law.
I oppose and will never allow amnesty. I opposed the amnesty President Bush and Senator McCain tried to ram through Congress this summer, and opposed the misnamed DREAM Act, which would have put us on the slippery slope to amnesty for all.
I oppose and will not tolerate sanctuaries for illegals. The federal government must crack down on rogue cities that willfully undermine our economy and national security.
I oppose giving driver's licenses to illegals and supports legislation to prevent states from doing so. In 2005, I signed legislation that prevents illegals in Arkansas from getting driver's licenses.
I will stop punishing cities which try to enforce our laws and protect the economic well-being, physical safety, and quality of life of their citizens.
I oppose and will not tolerate employers who hire illegals. They must be punished with fines and penalties so large that they will see it is not worth the risk.
I oppose the economic integration of North America that would create open borders among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. I will never yield one iota or one inch of our sovereignty.
I will take our country back for those who belong here. No open borders, no amnesty, no sanctuary, no false Social Security numbers, no driver's licenses for illegals.
I know that securing our borders must be our top priority and has reached the level of a national emergency. I am as sick and tired as you are that it is harder for us to get on an airplane in our home town than it is for all these illegals to cross our international border unchallenged.
We cannot stem the tide of illegals until we turn the tide. Before you fix the damage to your house caused by a leaking roof, you have to stop the leak, which I am determined to do.
I supported the $3 billion Congress passed this summer for border security. This desperately-needed money will train and deploy 23,000 more agents, add four drone planes, build 700 miles of fence and 300 miles of vehicle barriers, and put up 105 radar and camera towers. This money will turn "catch and release" into "catch and detain" of those entering illegally and crack down on those who overstay their visas.
But where is this $3 billion? The President threatened to veto the bill it was part of! Now the Senate has again voted for this money as part of the Defense Bill. I will continue to fight until we get these funds.
In this age of terror, immigration is not only an economic issue, but also a national security issue. We must know who is coming into our country, where they are going, and why they are here. All those who are caught trying to enter illegally must be detained, processed, and deported. As Governor, I ordered my state troopers to work with the Department of Homeland Security to arrest illegals and enforce federal immigration law.
I oppose and will never allow amnesty. I passionately rejected the amnesty bill that President Bush and Sen. McCain tried to ram through Congress this summer after secret meetings of an under-the-radar cabal of amnesty-loving senators.
I opposed the misnamed DREAM Act, which was a nightmare because it would have put us on the slippery slope to amnesty for all. Because once we open that door even a crack, we'll never get it closed again.
I oppose and will not tolerate sanctuaries for illegals. The federal government must enforce our existing laws by cracking down on rogue cities and towns that willfully undermine our economy and our homeland security by giving benefits and protection to illegals. The consequences for illegal entry must be swift, certain, and uniform throughout our country.
I oppose giving driver's licenses to illegals, such as Governor Spitzer tried to do in New York. I support legislation that would prevent the states from granting this privilege to illegals. In 2005, I signed legislation that prevents illegals in Arkansas from getting driver's licenses.
I will stop punishing cities which are trying to enforce our laws. I will appoint judges who will uphold the law, not side with the ACLU against cities like Hazelton, Pennsylvania, which are trying to protect the economic well-being, physical safety, and quality of life of their citizens.
I will not tolerate employers who hire illegals - they must be punished by fines and penalties so large that they will understand it is not worth the risk. Once again, as with Hazelton, liberal judges are gumming up the works. Right now, a court in San Francisco -- Pelosiland - has delayed enforcement of the "no match" letters for Social Security numbers that the Department of Homeland Security will use to crack down on those who hire illegals. If illegals cannot find work, they will go back where they belong. I will do everything I can to hasten their trip home by denying them employment.
I strongly oppose the economic integration of North America that would have open borders among the United States, Canada, and Mexico. I know we must have closed and secure borders. I will never yield either one inch or one iota of our sovereignty. I will recognize no authority but our Constitution.
I will take our country back for those who belong here and those who are willing to play by the rules for the privilege to come here. No open borders, no amnesty, no sanctuary, no false Social Security numbers, no driver's licenses for illegals.
I will implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population. http://www.mikehuckabee.com/
Now, here’s Republican Senator John McCain’s position on illegal immigration:
Immigration is one of those challenging issues that touch on many aspects of American life.
I have always believed that our border must be secure and that the federal government has utterly failed in its responsibility to ensure that it is secure. If we have learned anything from the recent immigration debate, it is that Americans have little trust that their government will honor a pledge to do the things necessary to make the border secure.
As president, I will secure the border. I will restore the trust Americans should have in the basic competency of their government. A secure border is an essential element of our national security. Tight border security includes not just the entry and exit of people, but also the effective screening of cargo at our ports and other points of entry.
But a secure border will contribute to addressing our immigration problem most effectively if we also:
Recognize the importance of building strong allies in Mexico and Latin America who reject the siren call of authoritarians like Hugo Chavez, support freedom and democracy, and seek strong domestic economies with abundant economic opportunities for their citizens.
Recognize the importance of pro-growth policies -- keeping government spending in check, holding down taxes, and cutting unnecessary regulatory burdens -- so American businesses can hire and pay the best.
Recognize the importance of a flexible labor market to keep employers in business and our economy on top. It should provide skilled Americans and immigrants with opportunity. Our education system should ensure skills for our younger workers, and our retraining and assistance programs for displaced workers must be modernized so they can pursue those opportunities
Recognize the importance of assimilation of our immigrant population, which includes learning English, American history and civics, and respecting the values of a democratic society.
Recognize that America will always be that "shining city upon a hill," a beacon of hope and opportunity for those seeking a better life built on hard work and optimism.
Border security and our failed immigration system are more examples of an ailing Washington culture in need of reform to regain the trust of Americans. In too many areas -- from immigration and pork barrel spending to Social Security, health care, energy security and tax relief -- business-as-usual politics prevents addressing the important challenges facing our nation. http://www.johnmccain.com/
This is what Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton has to say:
Our immigration system is in crisis. The laws we currently have on the books are inadequate and no longer serve our best interests. As a nation, we place a premium on compassion, respect, and policies that help families, but our immigration laws don't reflect that.
Hillary has consistently called for comprehensive immigration reform that respects our immigrant heritage and honors the rule of law. She believes comprehensive reform must have as essential ingredients a strengthening of our borders, greater cross-cooperation with our neighbors, strict but fair enforcement of our laws, federal assistance to our state and local governments, strict penalties for those who exploit undocumented workers, and a path to earned legal status for those who are here, working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar.
Hillary strongly believes we need to do more to know who is in our country by securing our borders and ensuring that employers comply with the law against hiring and exploiting undocumented workers. She supports deploying new technology that can help stop the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country and an employer verification system that is universal, accurate, timely, and does not lead to discrimination and abuse by employers.
Along with these changes, Hillary believes we need to repair those broken portions of our immigration system that irrevocably damage families and force citizens and lawful immigrants to choose between their newly adopted country and living with their spouse or children. We have a national interest in fostering strong families. This is why she introduced an amendment during consideration of the immigration reform bill that would have taken steps to protect the sanctity of families. Our American values demand no less.
And Hillary understands that our immigration policies have a direct impact on American workers. She opposes a guest worker program that exploits workers and creates a supply of cheap labor that undermines the wages of U.S. workers. Hillary believes all workers deserve safe conditions and decent wages. She supports an Ag Jobs program, which will keep our agricultural industry vibrant while enabling agricultural workers to receive the fair wages and labor protections they ought to receive.
When Hillary is president, comprehensive immigration reform will be a top priority.
Hillary has advocated for policies to help smooth the transition of legal immigrants once they arrive in the U.S. so that they can add to our economy and culture.
• She championed the Legal Immigrant Children's Health Improvement Act, which would give states the option to provide federally funded Medicaid and SCHIP benefits to low-income legal immigrant children and pregnant women.
• She wrote the Access to Employment and English Acquisition Act to meet the growing demand for English language courses and other job skills.
• She strongly supports the DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship through military service or higher education for children who were brought to the U.S. by their parents.
• She offered an amendment to make family reunification the guiding principle of our immigration system. http://www.hillaryclinton.com/
Finally, Senator Barack Obama weighs in with his comments on illegal immigration:
Undocumented population is exploding: The number of undocumented immigrants in the country has increased more than 40 percent since 2000. Every year, more than a half-million people come illegally or illegally overstay their visas.
Immigration bureaucracy is broken: The immigration bureaucracy is broken and overwhelmed, forcing legal immigrants to wait years for applications.
Immigration raids are ineffective: Despite a sevenfold increase in recent years, immigration raids only netted 3,600 arrests in 2006 and have placed all the burdens of a broken system onto immigrant families.
Barack Obama's Plan:
Create Secure Borders: Obama wants to preserve the integrity of our borders. He supports additional personnel, infrastructure and technology on the border and at our ports of entry.
Improve Our Immigration System: Obama believes we must fix the dysfunctional immigration bureaucracy and increase the number of legal immigrants to keep families together and meet the demand for jobs that employers cannot fill.
Remove Incentives to Enter Illegally: Obama will remove incentives to enter the country illegally by cracking down on employers who hire undocumented immigrants.
Bring People Out of the Shadows: Obama supports a system that allows undocumented immigrants who are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line for the opportunity to become citizens.
Work with Mexico: Obama believes we need to do more to promote economic development in Mexico to decrease illegal immigration.
Barack Obama's Record
• Crack Down on Employers: Obama championed a proposal to create a system so employers can verify that their employees are legally eligible to work in the U.S.
• Fix the Bureaucracy: Obama joined Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) to introduce the Citizenship Promotion Act to ensure that immigration application fees are both reasonable and fair. Obama also introduced legislation that passed the Senate to improve the speed and accuracy of FBI background checks.
• Respect Families: Obama introduced amendments to put greater emphasis on keeping immigrant families together. www.barackobama.com/
I just finished reading a terrific book written by Mr. Douglas E. Schoen entitled “Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two Party System”. Here’s a review I wrote for the book. I strongly urge you to buy it, read it, share it, and most of all, implement his suggestions.
"Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two Party System" by Douglas E Schoen: A Review
Douglas Schoen has seen the political future of America, and it’s centrist. Americans are sick and tired of being sick and tired of partisan politics which has done nothing but produce gridlock and inefficient government while refusing to address the serious issues which affects average working Americans. If you think the Taliban is a threat to the average American household, take a look at Washington or our local legislatures. Mr. Schoen, a campaign consultant, not only presents well documented arguments, augmented with compelling examples, for the rise of (and indeed, the urgent need for) Independents and third parties in his book, “Declaring Independence”, but has also given us a roadmap in how to carry out nothing short of revolt by Common American. If you’re as tired of “do-nothing” politicians, special interests groups, and the decline of America, I urge you to read and share Mr. Schoen’s book “Declaring Independence: The Beginning of the End of the Two Party System”. This is the best book yet about how “We the People” can reclaim America. Thank you Mr. Schoen!
Our occasional guest writer, “Moderate Man” wants to talk about our public library system. See what you think:
Let’s talk about the future of our library system in Louisville Metro. Louisville finds itself in a situation that is shared with many urban library systems-how to meet customer demands for access and materials with a shrinking budget that does not match rising costs and expectations. Louisville’s main building is 100 years old and has 16 branches plus two bookmobiles. I’ve been in many libraries around the country and several towns have impressive ones. Chicago has the new $144 million dollar, 10 floor Harold T. Washington Memorial main library building, that has plenty of shelve space, new books, computers everywhere and even a winter garden on the 9th floor. This is in addition to 79 satellite branches around the community. The Library of Congress in Washington D.C. has over 130 million items in its collection and is one of the largest libraries in the world. The Detroit Library has an aging 87 year old main building with 23 branches and a heavily used bookmobile service. This, in a town with a decreasing tax base. I’ve been in towns that have small privately funded libraries that charge for admittance and have a non circulation policy.
Our town and our children deserve a better library than we now have. With the expansion of merger, there is now a greater customer need for those citizens in the non urban service district. However, the voters of Louisville Metro have spoken on 3 different occasions, stating that they don’t want to pay for library expansion. The last time was to turn down a referendum to implement a 0.2% increase in the cities occupation tax rate for the $200 million master plan by a vote of 67% against and 33% for. Councilman Hal Heiner believed that merging of city and county government over 3 years age meant that no new taxes would ever be needed. Yes, efficiencies were met, personnel were reduced, and savings were achieved. But the councilman had other ideas, believing that bond money would be available after a couple project bonds were paid off. What’s the difference? Mr. Heiner claims that the tax would be permanent.
Well a council strong enough to increase a tax rate can be strong enough to remove it once the need is gone. This has happened several times before. Folks said times were bad and the economy is sinking. Just how much do we value our children’s education? It should be the primary priority in Louisville’s budget. The mayor says that other priorities will have to come first in the 08-09 budget. The children of this town have lost this battle. No wonder the youth leave to move to other towns, leaving Louisville Metro with only a 2% population growth in 25 out of the last 30 years. The mayor and the council must be held accountable. I suggest another way to increase library funding. It can be only accomplished with local and state political will, corporate pressure and another referendum by the voters.
In 1871, Louisville’s library raised money for the Free Public Library so books could be borrowed without charge, by creating a lottery at which the lucky ticket holders would win a portion of the funds, some as high as $35,000 which was awarded. Louisville needs a City Lottery for the sole purpose of raising funds for implementing the original $200 million Library Master plan and providing operating costs for it. This, along with an increased corporate participation in the Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, could realize Louisville Metro a 21st century library system that our leaders and children will be proud of, thus increasing the regions population and attracting employers.