Donald Trump’s biggest applause line at rallies in Ohio continues to be a promise: “Don’t worry; we’re going to build a wall.”
It’s a line that oddly resonates in a state where the experience with immigration is far different from most of the country.
Ohio has only about a third the national average when it comes to the percentage – 4 percent -- of foreign-born people living here. The state ranks 12th from the bottom. And of that tiny group of immigrants, fewer than one-in-five is here without the necessary papers.
Moreover, support for Trump is strongest in the counties where immigrants are least likely to be found – if not leaving.
Polling of Ohioans for the Your Vote Ohio project shows an odd disconnect on the issue. Asked in an open-ended question to name the top issues in 2016, immigration doesn’t make the top 10.
But when asked to define the reasons they like either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, it’s his stand on immigration that helps Ohioans define Trump as a good candidate.
And in a state that is always pivotal to winning the presidential election, then, Trump has found ways to make immigration critical to dealing with the most important issues on Ohioans’ minds, among them the economy and terrorism.
Linda Riley grew up near Steubenville and has been to Trump rallies on both sides of the Ohio River – in communities battered by the collapse of steel and coal and major population losses. Illegal immigration and the economy are her biggest issues and she says they’re intertwined.
“They’re taking jobs away from citizens. And everybody likes to say that they’ll take jobs that other people won’t. Well, how do we know that? Let’s get them out of here and we’ll see.”
But for immigrant families, many in pockets in Cuyahoga, Lake and Franklin counties, the debate about their role in the community is not hypothetical.
Elizabeth Perez is a U.S. military veteran – military service is something immigrants are as likely to do as native-born Americans -- and her husband, Marcos, was deported twice for not being in the country with proper documents. At a town hall in Cleveland in March, she pressed Hillary Clinton on how she would change policy and practice to allow Marcos to return to the U.S. from Mexico.
“Along with my husband, there have been over 2 million people deported since 2010. And almost a quarter of them are parents of U.S. citizen children. That’s two Cleveland Ohio’s of moms and dads just like my husband, up and gone out of their children’s lives,” she said.
Between Riley and Perez are a lot of people with mixed feelings – the kind reflected in a recent national poll by Pew Research that found voters about evenly split over whether border enforcement or a pathway to citizenship should be the nation’s priority.
The largest group said they’re of equal concern.
Tony Stutz, a retired teacher in the small Wayne County town of Dalton, works part-time at the hardware store. He pauses while cutting pipe to answer a big question: What to do with the 11 million people in the U.S. who are here illegally?
“We all came here because of a reason of persecution, suffering, looking for a better life. My feeling is that most of these people are searching for the same thing. If they’re here for an alternative motive I would go along with maybe sending them back. But for the most part, if they’re a contributing part of society like all of us should be, that’s the whole goal of the thing.”
Stutz’s personal experience with immigrants began when Mennonite missionaries sponsored families from Laos resettling here. And his experience may be closer to Ohio’s immigration reality than most people realize.
Who are Ohio’s immigrants?
The Census shows more than a third of Ohio’s immigrants came from Asia; Latin America doesn’t even rank second as a region of origin. Again, that defines Ohio’s experience as much different from the nation.
When it comes to unauthorized immigrants, Latin America moves up to a strong No. 1. But Asia still accounts for about a quarter, according to a new report from the Migration Policy Institute.
Ohio’s immigrants also tend to be more educated and have higher incomes than the immigrant population nationally and Ohioans in general.
More than 20 percent of foreign-born residents have a bachelor’s degree compared with less than 16 percent of native Ohioans. Even among immigrants without documents, 37 percent have at least some college.
Average earnings are about 18 percent higher than native Ohioans.
Fact-checking political claims about immigration? Here are some resources for you:
As for those who are here without documents, “anywhere from 45 to 50 percent are so-called visa over-stayers, the people who had legitimate visas when they arrived and then they overstayed for one reason or another,” explained Migration Policy Institute Senior Analyst Jeanna Batalova.
That includes visas for students from Asian countries attracted to Ohio’s universities, and visas to visit families.
And “it’s much more expensive to fly from Asia, from Africa, so only people with a certain level of means would be able to do that.”
Those two factors – here for college and the means to afford extensive travel – help explain the higher education and incomes for Ohio’s immigrants, she said.
The economic impact
Regardless of their origin, lots of Ohioans believe immigrants take jobs and keep wages low for native-born Americans.
Chris Howard is among them. He’s African American, 52, grew up in East Cleveland and is training for a data-entry job after massive layoffs at the automotive parts plant where he worked for years.
He maintains a porous border “gives the immigrants a chance to work for less money and ... people tend to hire them first.”
Census data show that immigrants are indeed less likely to be jobless than native Ohioans – by a little more than a percentage point. And they’re far more likely to have jobs in private businesses rather than government.
Research by George Borjas – a Harvard economist cited by groups trying to slow immigration – validates Howard. It says immigrants boost the U.S. economy by $1.6 trillion a year, but most of that goes to the immigrants themselves and suppresses wages for native-born workers.
Other studies challenge Borjas’ conclusions.
The Partnership for a New American Economy is a bipartisan group advocating for a path to citizenship for those here illegally.
It maintains that immigrants are job creators, too; more than 120,000 Ohioans work for small and medium-sized firms owned by immigrants.
The partnership also took a deeper look recently at Akron – one of the Midwest cities that embraces immigrants as hope for a rust-belt turnaround. It found pluses when it came to population, taxes, home ownership, property values and entrepreneurship.
Director Jeremy Robbins, maintains that even low-skill immigrants boost the economy.
“They create jobs. Now, are there some people where there is tension? We know there are a lot of Americans who are hurting, who need better employment, who need work. But the answer isn’t to close our borders. The answer is to be smarter about our immigration system.”
Finding reasons for resentment
Ohio’s foreign-born population is clustered largely around its big cities. Franklin County has the most and has been growing the fastest. But mid-sized counties like Summit and Montgomery have seen growth, too.
Lagging far behind is the region along the Ohio River, which continues to lead Ohio in unemployment. It’s in counties like those that Trump prevailed over Ohio Gov. John Kasich in the March primary.
Immigrants “have very little to do with the issues that these communities are facing. They’re not even there. But some of these communities are going through transformations and some people are being left behind. And these kinds of moments are when immigration as a scapegoat gains a certain amount of traction.”
Madhu Sharma is director of immigrant services at the International Institute of Akron. An attorney and an immigrant herself, she believes immigration strengthens a community in many ways.
But she thinks she understands why others hesitate.
“It’s the same fear that makes people come to our borders, ... this fear of being cut off from resources of being able to take care of the people we love.”
One concern frequently cited by critics of immigration centers on taxes and benefits. We've taken a closer look at that below:
Here are the numbers from tthe Partnership for a New American Economy and Institute on Taxation & Economic Policy:
Ohio’s immigrants paid nearly $4.5 billion in federal, state and local taxes in 2014, according to the partnership. Undocumented immigrants accounted for close to $200 million of that, including $110 million paid into Social Security, which they cannot collect.
But opponents say that comes at a cost. FAIR – which advocates limits on legal and illegal immigration – says undocumented immigrants cost the U.S. $113 billon, including education, medical treatment and “non-enumerated functions of government.” Fact-checkers rate the claim mostly false, noting it relies on high estimates of unauthorized immigrants, doesn’t include taxes they pay, and includes educating their U.S.-born children.
When it comes to direct benefits, a 2014 study by UCLA’s Centre for Health Policy Research ranked Ohio last among all the states in support for undocumented immigrants.
Fast-facts about Ohio's immigrants:
Ohio’s immigrants overall
- Came from Asia (36.6%), Europe/Canada/Oceana (29%) Latin America (20.8%) Africa (11.5%)
- Earned $15.6 billion in 2014
- Paid $3.1 billion in federal taxes
- Paid 1.3 billion in state and local taxes
- Divide along the extremes when it comes to education: both less likely to have even a high school diploma and more likely to have graduate and professional degrees than native-born Americans.
- They’re also more likely to be of working age (25-64), married and earning at the lowest end of the income scale. But as with education, think of it as the shape of a barbell: They’re also more likely to be earning at the highest income bracket.
Ohio’s undocumented immigrants
- Came from Latin America (55%,) Asia (24%), Africa (12%), Europe/Canada/Oceana (8%)
- Earned $1.5 billon
- Paid $129.9 million in federal taxes
- Paid $67.6 million in state and federal taxes
- 37% have some college education and 23 percent have bachelor’s degrees or higher.
- 30% of those 15 and older live with U.S.-citizen children under age 18
- 63% of those 16 and older work
- The family income of 37% is below the poverty level, but 36% have income at or above the 200% of poverty level.
Source: Migration Policy Institute; New American Economy, Census
Here are the thoughts of some Ohioans on immigration
- Age: 64
- Occupation: United Autoworker
- Hometown: Warren
Favors a path to citizenship to fix what he sees as a broken system. “We cannot round them up and kick them out; there must be some better way.”
As for his personal experience, “Once I turned 18, I started to build cars in the car plant, and the car plant and the truck plant next door had 10,000 people working there. When the shift left out it was like a ballgame letting out. And it was a microcosmic version of the neighborhood, indeed of the country. And we had people I might not have met had I not worked there.”
As white of Irish descent, he said, “As my views were maturing, my views tended to be more Catholic, more universal in their outlook. What you learn by working next to somebody is transcendent information. And it seems like we are stronger for it.”
- Occupation: Physicist and owner of Quality Electrodynamics
- Hometown: Cleveland
Fujita came to the U.S. from Japan 20 years ago to get his Ph.D. in physics. He says he likely never would have started his own business had he not come to the United States and looking back, it was a matter of “connecting the dots.”
Overall, he says the U.S. is a nation of laws that must be followed, including immigration laws. But he says the question of what to do with the 11 million undocumented immigrants here now is hard to answer. “There may be some truly great people who just happen to be illegal immigrants by ... forced situations.”
- Age: 27
- Occupation: Web developer and basketball coach
- Hometown: Akron
Dennison says overall, immigrants have been viewed as a strength in Akron. “I have friends from other countries and they have their own businesses, so they’ve done good. ... And having the opportunity to have that melting pot, it’s not really something that stirs up the community.”
Dennison would like to see a humane collaboration nationally to come up with solutions for unauthorized immigrants, one that recognizes, “people have children ... and they have a business and a job, so families don’t get ripped apart.”
- Age: 28
- Occupation: Mother of two, assistant manager at a discount store
- Hometown: Wadsworth
Hupfl says her store sees a lot of immigrants and as people, she sees few differences between them and native-born Americans. But “we need to focus more on the people that are here first. I think it’s not right that we are here working and we have to pay our taxes. I think it should be fair that when they come here, they have to do the same things we have to do.”
- Age: 28
- Hometown: Lima
- Occupation: Medical assistant
In Lima, she said, there are no immigrants other than at college, and that has been her only association with the issue. “They come here for a better education and to go back where they come from,” and she said she knows no immigrants who came to stay.
Of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants elsewhere, she surmised they’re “just coming here for work, to strive to do better. ... We have a lot of opportunities.”
“They should be able to stay here in the United States and not be deported,” but try to go about it the right way and not live here illegally.
- Age: 20
- Hometown: Lima
- Occupation: College student
Said she has had no contact with immigrants. “We could have more of it. It adds culture. Increases experiences we could use in Lima.”
Other states have larger immigration communities, they get to experience their culture, their food, their religion, it adds something different for those people. They’re not stuck in their ways. They get to meet new people.”
For the people who are here without authorization, “We have to ask why – what made them come here? A lot of times it’s abuse, poverty. Something forced them to come here, legally or illegally, it was for a reason.”
“We don’t have to punish them the way some of them are. We should be more helpful, especially with what is going on in other countries.”
- Age: 48
- Hometown: Canton
- Occupation: Unemployed
Skinner has mixed feelings on immigration. However, he said he doesn't meet immigrants often except perhaps for the occasional convenience store owner.
"We get along fine if there's an interaction or I'm talking with them face to face," he said, adding that he's never had a negative experience with an immigrant. Skinner is unemployed after working for a plastic bin manufacturer last year. In his mind, he associates some immigrants with drug dealing and shootings, but he believes many immigrants' intentions are good.
"I know they're looking to escape poverty and just live a better life," he said. "If they push the drug issue, I'm not for that. ... If they try to sell marijuana or hard drugs, I don't do those kind of drugs."
But Skinner said about immigration, "we don't need all of it," especially since Americans don't understand the languages and cultures of many immigrants.
"The more the population, the harder it is for the average (person) to find work, so they kind of take our jobs away," he said.
Skinner said of the people who entered the country illegally, "If they can't be deported they should send them back to ... their national origin."
- Age: 38
- Hometown: Canton
He sees this country as being more hospitable to immigrants than to black Americans. Harper, who says he studied accounting at Brown Mackie College, was released from state prison in early July after serving three years for a felonious assault conviction in Lorain County.
"The immigrants went through a process that made them welcomed," Harper said. "I still don't see a process in which African-Americans can feel welcomed especially in America."
"The way I see immigrants, some immigrants got their own stores ... restaurants ... the people that's more accepted would be the ones that run stores and restaurants, but I don't own a store and a restaurant."
When asked if he wanted immigrants to leave, Harper said, "I thought the nation was built off of them."
"Maybe they (immigrants) got diseases or whatever they got I think they do need to be run through a process, but I think after they run through the process any type of process that the United States would require, then they should be feeling welcomed in general."
- Age: 58
- Hometown: Massillon
- Occupation: Business owner, data processing
He said he hasn’t encountered immigrants except a couple of people from Honduras and Mexico he once met on the street.
"A lot of the immigrants will work jobs that some of the citizens already will not work," Hudson said. "Maybe the low-paying jobs and the back-breaking jobs. Some jobs might be in the plant. Very tedious work. It's hard to get some people to stay in new jobs. You have a high turnover rate. Well the immigrants might stay (longer)."
"The immigrants that are productive ... become good citizens. ... the bad part of immigration is there may be some links to people who are not good. People in crime, drug dealing," he said.
On the estimated 11 million immigrants who entered the country illegally: "If they can't go through the proper channels to become legal, they would probably have to be deported," Hudson said.
- Age: 57
- Hometown: Canton
- Occupation: retired chef.
She sees immigrants as a positive for this country.
"I lived in Arizona for 10 years, and obviously there was a large Hispanic population and they were all working to take care of their families and get their citizenship. My great-grandmothers did not speak English. They spoke German. They were immigrants. I think that's what America is about," said Tucker, who lived in Tucson.
Immigration locally "brings a diversity and just different experiences and different perspectives that can be very helpful for society. Different types of art, food, ways of worship. I really can't think of anything negative about it," Tucker said.
- Age: 65
- Hometown: Jackson Township in Stark County
While he seldom, if ever, meets immigrants, Miner believes immigrants "treated fairly and honestly, they would make my community stronger because it would bring to it a certain level of diversity and a better understanding of their culture and our culture. ... Hey we're the melting pot of the world supposedly, so historically immigration is a good thing, but it needs to be handled correctly. ... I used to do some traveling. I know what some of the immigration policies are from some of the countries that I traveled. They're very stringent. Much more stringent than we are here. What I would appreciate for people who would want to come to this country is that they follow the rules to become citizens if that's their intent. If they're here for a visit, fine."
On the estimated 11 million immigrants who entered illegally, "Obviously, I'm not going to turn 11 million people out and try to deport them because that would be logistically almost impossible. But I'm not one that believes in amnesty either. So in between those two divergent, there's got to be a way to come up with an answer that should be satisfactory and acceptable to all parties," said Miner.
- Age: 21
- Hometown: Dalton
- Occupation: Stark State College criminal justice student
Shields said he grew up with a couple of friends in Manhattan, Kansas, who were from Mexico, and he has had positive experiences with immigrants. He said locally, he has friends from Muslim countries and "they just ended up moving here for a better experience ... one of them's gay for instance. They don't fare very well over there, so they moved here because they're a little bit less hated.
"I think in most communities it (immigration) is good because it gives a little bit better culture so it's not just such a tight-knit, say redneck community for instance, where they're a little bit more hated towards outsiders. So it makes people more comfortable and I think that's a better experience for the work and stuff since at work, you're not just going to be working only with white people so you need to be more accustomed to seeing other people from different ethnicities and cultures," Shields said.
- Age: 28
- Hometown: Kent
- Occupation: Records Department, Summit County; college student
She said she's met students from other countries like Nepal and immigrants who've sought public assistance.
"But I believe we're all immigrants actually," she said. "If people are here doing jobs, bettering their education and can make an impact on our community, I think that's a great thing. I think that there's a lot of issues going on here that the current political battles trying to blame on illegal immigrants, but we already have our problems here. I don't think it's right to bring in a population and say that they're the only ones creating all these problems."
Shea said people commit crimes here anyway regardless of immigration.
"To target one population and say that they're the reasons for all these problems and they're bringing all the drugs here is just insane," said Shea.
But Shea said there have to be limits on immigration and she favors expelling people involved with illegal drugs or they committed a violent act, but she said mass deportations are unrealistic.
- Age: 24
- Hometown: Canton
- Occupation: Stark State College student
Lunsford said her aunt married a Muslim man from Tunisia, said she believes there needs to be more vetting of people entering the country, including refugees. She believes they should be more extensively interviewed.
"That makes me a little nervous because you don't really know who you're bringing in," she said. "If people are coming here legally, they're getting their green cards ... they're getting their background checks and you know that these are decent people wanting to make a better life then. I feel like they deserve to be here just like everyone else. But I feel some policies should be tightened to an extent. ... But I do feel that people deserve the right to the dream of America but I also feel that we should take precaution on who we're bringing here knowing that we are pretty much most hated to the other countries."
Lunsford said her father was told when he was laid off from a bricklaying job that he was being replaced by lower-paid undocumented immigrants on a construction project.
She said immigration is positive when immigrants come here with goals, such as to become doctors here, but the negative is it could mean more competition for low-skill employment.
"If you want to be here, be a citizen, do your best," she said.
Here are the positions of the two major party candidates on immigration:
Donald Trump on immigration
Position: Build a permanent border wall on the US-Mexico border
Implementation Plans: “It's an easy decision for Mexico: make a one-time payment of $5-10 billion to ensure that $24 billion [of remittance payments from Mexican nationals working in the United States] continues to flow into their country year after year. There are several ways to compel Mexico to pay for the wall including the following:
…promulgate a "proposed rule" (regulation) amending 31 CFR 130.121 to redefine applicable financial institutions to include money transfer companies like Western Union, and redefine "account" to include wire transfers. Also include in the proposed rule a requirement that no alien may wire money outside of the United States unless the alien first provides a document establishing his lawful presence in the United States.[…T]ell Mexico that if the Mexican government will contribute the funds needed to the United States to pay for the wall, the Trump Administration will not promulgate the final rule, and the regulation will not go into effect.
Trade tariffs, or enforcement of existing trade rules: There is no doubt that Mexico is engaging in unfair subsidy behavior that has eliminated thousands of U.S. jobs, and which we are obligated to respond to; the impact of any tariffs on the price imports will be more than offset by the economic and income gains of increased production in the United States, in addition to revenue from any tariffs themselves...
Cancelling visas: Immigration is a privilege, not a right. Mexico is totally dependent on the United States as a release valve for its own poverty - our approvals of hundreds of thousands of visas to their nationals every year is one of our greatest leverage points. We also have leverage through business and tourist visas for important people in the Mexican economy.
Visa fees: Even a small increase in visa fees would pay for the wall. This includes fees on border crossing cards, of which more than 1 million are issued a year. The border-crossing card is also one of the greatest sources of illegal immigration into the United States, via overstays. Mexico is also the single largest recipient of U.S. green cards, which confer a path to U.S. citizenship.”
Position: Defend the Laws and Constitution of the United States
“Triple the number of ICE officers. As the president of the ICE Officers’ Council explained in Congressional testimony: “Only approximately 5,000 officers and agents within ICE perform the lion’s share of ICE’s immigration mission…Compare that to the Los Angeles Police Department at approximately 10,000 officers. Approximately 5,000 officers in ICE cover 50 states, Puerto Rico and Guam, and are attempting to enforce immigration law against 11 million illegal aliens already in the interior of the United States. Since 9-11, the U.S. Border Patrol has tripled in size, while ICE’s immigration enforcement arm, Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), has remained at relatively the same size.” This will be funded by accepting the recommendation of the Inspector General for Tax Administration and eliminating tax credit payments to illegal immigrants.
Nationwide e-verify. This simple measure will protect jobs for unemployed Americans.
Mandatory return of all criminal aliens. The Obama Administration has released 76,000 aliens from its custody with criminal convictions since 2013 alone. All criminal aliens must be returned to their home countries, a process which can be aided by canceling any visas to foreign countries which will not accept their own criminals, and making it a separate and additional crime to commit an offense while here illegally.
Detention—not catch-and-release. Illegal aliens apprehended crossing the border must be detained until they are sent home, no more catch-and-release.
Defund sanctuary cities. Cut-off federal grants to any city which refuses to cooperate with federal law enforcement.
Enhanced penalties for overstaying a visa. Millions of people come to the United States on temporary visas but refuse to leave, without consequence. This is a threat to national security. Individuals who refuse to leave at the time their visa expires should be subject to criminal penalties; this will also help give local jurisdictions the power to hold visa overstays until federal authorities arrive. Completion of a visa tracking system – required by law but blocked by lobbyists – will be necessary as well.
Cooperate with local gang task forces. ICE officers should accompany local police departments conducting raids of violent street gangs like MS-13 and the 18th street gang, which have terrorized the country. All illegal aliens in gangs should be apprehended and deported. Again, quoting Chris Crane: “ICE Officers and Agents are forced to apply the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Directive, not to children in schools, but to adult inmates in jails. If an illegal-alien inmate simply claims eligibility, ICE is forced to release the alien back into the community. This includes serious criminals who have committed felonies, who have assaulted officers, and who prey on children…ICE officers should be required to place detainers on every illegal alien they encounter in jails and prisons, since these aliens not only violated immigration laws, but then went on to engage in activities that led to their arrest by police; ICE officers should be required to issue Notices to Appear to all illegal aliens with criminal convictions, DUI convictions, or a gang affiliation; ICE should be working with any state or local drug or gang task force that asks for such assistance.”
End birthright citizenship. This remains the biggest magnet for illegal immigration. By a 2:1 margin, voters say it’s the wrong policy, including Harry Reid who said “no sane country” would give automatic citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants.”
Position: Put American Workers First
“Increase prevailing wage for H-1Bs. We graduate two times more Americans with STEM degrees each year than find STEM jobs, yet as much as two-thirds of entry-level hiring for IT jobs is accomplished through the H-1B program. [Editor’s note: An H-1B visa allows employers to employ foreigners for specialty jobs]. More than half of H-1B visas are issued for the program's lowest allowable wage level, and more than eighty percent for its bottom two. Raising the prevailing wage paid to H-1Bs will force companies to give these coveted entry-level jobs to the existing domestic pool of unemployed native and immigrant workers in the U.S., instead of flying in cheaper workers from overseas. This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program.
Requirement to hire American workers first. Too many visas, like the H-1B, have no such requirement. In the year 2015, with 92 million Americans outside the workforce and incomes collapsing, we need companies to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed. Petitions for workers should be mailed to the unemployment office, not US [Citizen and Immigration Services].
End welfare abuse. Applicants for entry to the United States should be required to certify that they can pay for their own housing, healthcare and other needs before coming to the U.S.
Jobs program for inner city youth. The J-1 visa jobs program for foreign youth will be terminated and replaced with a resume bank for inner city youth provided to all corporate subscribers to the J-1 visa program.
Refugee program for American children. Increase standards for the admission of refugees and asylum-seekers to crack down on abuses. Use the monies saved on expensive refugee programs to help place American children without parents in safer homes and communities, and to improve community safety in high crime neighborhoods in the United States.
Immigration moderation. Before any new green cards are issued to foreign workers abroad, there will be a pause where employers will have to hire from the domestic pool of unemployed immigrant and native workers. This will help reverse women's plummeting workplace participation rate, grow wages, and allow record immigration levels to subside to more moderate historical averages.”
“I will say, though, in terms of immigration -- and almost anything else -- there always has to be some, you know, tug and pull and deal. And, you know, when I watch Ted [Cruz] stand on the Senate floor, I had great respect for what he did. He stood there for a day-and-a- half or something. In the meantime, what came of it? Nothing. You have to be able to have some flexibility, some negotiation.” (Fox News GOP Debate, March 3)
Information gathered by the Jefferson Center for the Your Vote Ohio project. Visit either on Facebook, or at www.yourvoteohio.org. The Jefferson Center is a non-partisan organization based in St. Paul, Minn., and conducts citizen research and engagement on multiple subjects.
Hillary Clinton’s position on immigration
Position: Comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship
“Introduce comprehensive immigration reform. Hillary will introduce comprehensive immigration reform with a pathway to full and equal citizenship within her first 100 days in office. It will treat every person with dignity, fix the family visa backlog, uphold the rule of law, protect our borders and national security, and bring millions of hardworking people into the formal economy.
End the three- and 10-year bars. The three- and 10-year bars force families—especially those whose members have different citizenship or immigration statuses—into a heartbreaking dilemma: remain in the shadows, or pursue a green card by leaving the country and loved ones behind.
Defend President Obama’s executive actions—known as DACA and DAPA—against partisan attacks. The Supreme Court’s deadlocked decision on [Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents] was a heartbreaking reminder of how high the stakes are in this election. Hillary believes DAPA is squarely within the president’s authority and won’t stop fighting until we see it through. The estimated five million people eligible for DAPA—including DREAMers and parents of Americans and lawful residents—should be protected under the executive actions. (Editor’s note: DREAM is the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors legislation, parts of which have been debated in Congress since 2001.)
Do everything possible under the law to protect families. If Congress keeps failing to act on comprehensive immigration reform, Hillary will enact a simple system for those with sympathetic cases—such as parents of DREAMers, those with a history of service and contribution to their communities, or those who experience extreme labor violations—to make their case and be eligible for deferred action.
Enforce immigration laws humanely. Immigration enforcement must be humane, targeted, and effective. Hillary will focus resources on detaining and deporting those individuals who pose a violent threat to public safety, and ensure refugees who seek asylum in the U.S. have a fair chance to tell their stories.
End family detention and close private immigration detention centers. Hillary will end family detention for parents and children who arrive at our border in desperate situations and close private immigrant detention centers.
Expand access to affordable health care to all families. We should let families—regardless of immigration status—buy into the Affordable Care Act exchanges. Families who want to purchase health insurance should be able to do so.
Promote naturalization. Hillary will work to expand fee waivers to alleviate naturalization costs, increase access to language programs to encourage English proficiency, and increase outreach and education to help more people navigate the process.”
"I don't want anyone who could be a citizen to miss out on that opportunity," Clinton said in New York at a conference on integrating immigrants into the United States. (via Reuters)
“Bringing more workers into the formal economy boosts everyone's wages. Recent economic research suggests that comprehensive immigration reform could add more than 8,000 jobs and nearly $700 million to Arizona’s economy – so it would actually benefit every family in the state, no matter how long they’ve lived here.
This is not a new fight for me.
As a young woman, I investigated appalling conditions for migrant workers for a U.S. Senate committee, and I traveled across south Texas registering Latino voters. As First Lady, I convened the inaugural conference on Latino Children and Youth, to make sure that Latino boys and girls were getting the same opportunities as any other child. As a senator, I co-sponsored the Dream Act three times and stood with Ted Kennedy in our fight to pass comprehensive immigration reform. As president, I’m committed to seeing this fight through to the finish line.” (via Arizona Republic)
Information gathered by the Jefferson Center for the Your Vote Ohio project. Visit either on Facebook, or at www.yourvoteohio.org. The Jefferson Center is a non-partisan organization based in St. Paul, Minn., and conducts citizen research and engagement on multiple subjects.