Politics & Government

March 29, 2014

Graham race: On immigration

As of Friday, seven Republicans had filed to run for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-Seneca. How do Graham and his challengers compare on the issues?

Graham: A member of the bi-partisan congressional “Gang of Eight” who helped draft an immigration proposal. Secure the U.S.-Mexico border by hiring more patrol agents and extending the fence. Require Homeland Security border strategy. Mandate employment verification. Reform visa work programs and give illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship, after border security, that includes language tests, fines and going to the “back of the line.”

Bowers: Congress should discuss no immigration reform policies until the border is secure. Says 11 million immigrants in the U.S. illegally should be penalized for breaking the law. Existing laws should be enforced. Supportive of visa tracking and employment verification.

Bright: Illegal immigrants should “self-deport,” which is unlikely, he acknowledges. Illegal immigrants who are arrested should be deported. Secure the borders. Opposes the idea of allowing more “trained professionals” into the country to fill jobs, saying U.S. workers should be trained instead. Supports boosting employment verification, which, he says, will limit immigrants taking jobs from Americans.

Cash:“The back of the line is on the other side of the border. Those who are here illegally should leave and apply to come in legally” as other would-be immigrants have been doing. Secure the borders and limit access to jobs through employment verification. Says Graham’s plan would amount to amnesty, which has been the nation’s policy since the ’80s. “I don’t think anyone believes that (the Gang of Eight’s bill) is actually going to secure the borders.”

Connor: Supports “controlled immigration,” limiting the number of immigrants and who enters the country, based on immigrants’ skills and background. Supports securing the border, cracking down on overstayed visas, requiring language proficiency so immigrants contribute to the United States’ “melting-pot culture.”

Dunn: Says requirements for earning a “pathway to citizenship” in Graham’s proposal will not be enforced. Instead, supports piecemeal reforms to visa programs to encourage immigrants who will invent and innovate for U.S. companies. Backs allowing workers to register and cross the border legally for work. Increase border security.

Mace: Secure the borders. Has not seen any proposals that she feels confident would do that. Says the Gang of Eight proposal would increase federal spending.

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