The Next Vice-President: Immigration

The next chapter is tracking six focus issues during the current presidential election process. Recently, TNC summarized the positions of the Democratic and Republican nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. The views of the vice-presidential nominees about these issues—based primarily on statements they made prior to becoming nominees—will now be explored, starting with immigration.

On Immigration:

Do you favor immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship?

TNC’s opinion: The next chapter believes that immigration reform is needed to reverse the dismal history of error that began with the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act. There should be a pathway to full citizenship for all immigrants.

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia supports reform of this country’s immigration laws. He favors immigration reform that would include a path to “normalizing the legal status” of unauthorized immigrants. In 2013, he voted for the last major comprehensive reform measure considered by Congress. The reform legislation, S. 744, passed in the Senate, but was never allowed a vote in the House due to obstruction by Republican leadership.

Kaine also supported the DREAM Act—the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act provided legal residency for young undocumented immigrants brought into the country as children. This proposed legislation failed in Congress due opposition from Republicans.

Kaine supports efforts to expand the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs. He was one of 39 senators and 186 House members who joined in an amicus brief in United States v. Texas, supporting President Obama’s November 2014 executive actions on immigration against a challenge by Texas and 25 other states.

Mike Pence, governor of Indiana, does not support any path to “normalization” or citizenship for unauthorized immigrants to the United States. As a member of Congress in 2006, Pence proposed legislation (the Border Integrity and Immigration Reform Act) that would have set new conditions for obtaining a guest-worker visa. Under the proposal, immigrants would have to apply for the guest-worker visa while in their country of origin. In other words, immigrants currently living in the United States would be required to “self-deport” before applying for guest-worker status. The bill proposed to privatize the process of determining eligibility for a guest-worker visa. Guest workers could apply for permanent resident status—after waiting another 17 years. Pence’s bill died in Congress.

While Pence was governor, Indiana joined Texas in the lawsuit challenging the expansion of DACA and DAPA. The case reached the Supreme Court, which left the lower court’s stay of President Obama’s executive actions in place but failed to make a decision on the merits due to a 4 to 4 split among the Justices (a circumstance brought about by the Republican leadership’s refusal to consider Obama’s proposed appointment of Merrick Garland to fill the vacant seat on the Court after the death of Antonin Scalia).

Although Pence will undoubtedly toe Trump’s line on immigration, he has expressed ideas about immigration that contradict what Trump believes. In 2006, he told the Heritage foundation: “It is not logistically possible to round up 12 million illegal aliens.” Pence has also acknowledged the contribution of immigrant workers to the nation’s economy: “It also is not realistic to think that some American businesses can operate with­out the workers who have made their way into our economy.” He wrote in an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that he believes “America always has been, and always will be, a welcoming nation, welcoming under the law any and all with courage enough to come here.”


The vice-presidential candidates’ views on the other focus issues:

On Health Care

On Iran

On Climate Change

On the Minimum Wage

On Campaign Finance Reform

Share This:

Hits: 489

Some other stuff for later,

  • 85
    This post follows Immigration Part 1: How Did We Get Here? and Immigration Part 2: Establishing Equity. Part 1 covers United States immigration policy and politics prior to 1965. Part 2 examines three decades of immigration legislation between 1965 and 1996 and the recommendations of two blue-ribbon commissions appointed to…
  • 82
    Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton made news last week (on Cinco De Mayo) while addressing a group of students at Rancho High School in Las Vegas, Nevada, by declaring that she would “fight for comprehensive immigration reform and a path to citizenship.” She distinguished herself from the Republican candidates: “Today not…
  • 79
    This post follows Immigration Part 1: How Did We Get Here?, Immigration Part 2: Establishing Equity, and Immigration Part 3: Border Security Redefined. Part 1 covers United States immigration policy and politics prior to 1965. Part 2 examines three decades of immigration legislation between 1965 and 1996 and the recommendations…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.