Where They Stand: Immigration reform

By Arielle Hines

Immigration reform has been a hot political topic since George W. Bush first took office in 2001 on his platform of “compassionate conservatism.”

Little in the way of reform has been implemented since then, though, and problems with the immigration system have mounted.

There’s little question it’s an issue that needs addressing, though. The Center for Immigration Studies reported that 410,000 illegal aliens are deported each year. According to Mother Jones, 70,000 unaccompanied minors will come to America without any parents this year. Many of these children are coming from central America, often escaping from horrific conditions in their home country and are at high risk of being abused.

The immigration issue hit close to home recently. Earlier this year, Vassar, Mich., was discussed to become a temporary home for some of those undocumented children, to much controversy.

Find out where your candidates stand on immigration reform below.

Governor’s Race

Gov. Rick Snyder, Republican:

Rick Snyder
Rick Snyder

Snyder has been a vocal proponent of immigration reform. He asked the Obama administration to provide 50,000 visas to highly-skilled immigrant workers to help revitalize Detroit last year.

When MLive asked Snyder for his thoughts on the situation in Vassar, Snyder said it highlighted the need for “comprehensive” reform.

“It reflects the fact that we need federal reform for our immigration system,” Snyder said. “It’s another failure point, and there is a need for comprehensive federal immigration reform, and we need to do a better job.”

Mark Schauer, Democratic candidate for Governor:

Mark Schauer
Mark Schauer

Schauer said that he would not get involved in the immigration controversy in Vassar. He said immigration is a national issue that should be handled at the federal level.

In 2010, Schauer voted yes for the DREAM Act, which would have changed the law to not deport illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. when they were 16 or younger and were shown to have “good moral character.”

In 2008, Schauer voted yes for legislation that requires people to prove they are citizens of the United States to get a driver’s license.

U.S. Senate race

U.S. Rep. Gary Peters, Democratic candidate for Senate

According to the nonpartisan Vote Smart, Peters would likely vote no for requiring illegal immigrants to go back to their home countries before gaining American citizenship.

Like Schauer, he also voted yes on the DREAM Act in 2010.

Terri Lynn Land, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate:

Land said she is open to creating a path for illegal immigrants to have residency, but she has been clearer about not wanting to grant amnesty.

“I’m also open to the idea that people who have come here and haven’t committed any crimes, have been good citizens and paid taxes, could have the ability to be here legally. Not citizenship, but to be here legally,” Land told MLive.

State House, 99th District

State. Rep. Kevin Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant indicated to Vote Smart that he supports enforcing the federal immigration laws.

Democratic candidate Bryan Mielke told CMU Insider that the U.S. needs to restrict illegal immigration and to make sure state jobs resources are going to Michigan workers, as opposed to illegal immigrants.

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