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  • Article: Who is the Best Presidential Candidate on Immigration? By Kevin Johnson

    Who is the Best Presidential Candidate on Immigration?

    by


     

    Governor_O'Malley_Portrait

    I have been pondering a question lately – who of all the current Presidential would be the best on immigration? 

    We no doubt all know by where current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump stands.  Jeb Bush has written a book on immigration reformHillary Clinton expresses support for immigration reform; however, she was quick last week to blast San Francisco and its sanctuary law in the sad case of Kate Steinle, which makes me worry where she will be when the immigration debate gets tough.

    Some of my progressive friends are enthusiastic about Bernie Sanders, but he has said little about immigration reform and immigration generally.  Given that immigration is the civil rights issue of our century, a candidate’s stand on it in these turbulent times is important.

    At the outset, I must have found myself generally in agreement with Senator Lindsay Graham’s (R-SC) positions on immigration, including his support for comprehensive immigration reform, denunciation of Donald Trump as a “demagogue”, and his refusal to use deportation “to destroy families for the hell of it.” 

    Roque Planas on Huffington Post recently reported on the immigration positions of a candidate who sounds promising on immigration, Martin O’Malley, the former governor of Maryland and Mayor of BaltimoreO'Malley declared his candidacy at the end of May.  His website offers very detailed and sensible immigration reform proposals that no other candidate has matched to this point. 

    O’Malley recently said he’d widen the scope of deferred action policies that shield qualified undocumented immigrants from deportation, notably to include undocumented parents of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients -- a group that the Obama administration did not grant relief. He also said he would drastically scale down the use of immigrant detention, calling it a “last resort” that should only be used to detain people who present a public security threat. He pledged to eliminate a congressionally mandated detention bed quota that requires the federal government to maintain the capacity to lock up at least 34,000 in immigrant detention. His proposals also touched on less discussed elements of immigration policy that nevertheless have a major impact on immigrants' lives. Those who have lived in the country unlawfully, but want to adjust their status, currently have to return to their country of origin for years before qualifying for a visa. O’Malley said the requirement should be eliminated.

    Carving out perhaps the most liberal position on immigration among the candidates vying for their parties' presidential nominations would put O’Malley directly at odds with many Republicans and some Democrats who say Congress should prioritize border security before normalizing the immigration status of undocumented immigrants. O’Malley said border security is important, but that the overriding concern for both the economy and national security was bringing the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants “out of the shadows” so they can contribute to the economy without fear of being separated from their families. Such policies, O’Malley said, are “not only important for newly arriving immigrants -- they’re important for everyone."

    This post originally appeared on Immigration Prof Blog. Reprinted with permission.


    About The Author

    Kevin R. Johnson

    Kevin R. Johnson is Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies. He joined the UC Davis law faculty in 1989 and was named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1998. Johnson became Dean in 2008. He has taught a wide array of classes, including immigration law, civil procedure, complex litigation, Latinos and Latinas and the law, and Critical Race Theory. In 1993, he was the recipient of the law school's Distinguished Teaching Award.


    The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinion of ILW.COM.

    Comments 2 Comments
    1. Lynn A. Bloxhamd's Avatar
      Lynn A. Bloxhamd -
      The very best on Immigration is always the Libertarian Party as their platform is very clear.The LP platform does not change with the particular candidate. In all respects the libertarians have led the way on many important issues in spite of the enormous resistance from Republican and Democrat politicians who have used onerous rules on Ballot Access and Debates to stifle the libertarians.
    1. Retired INS's Avatar
      Retired INS -
      Why not focus on candidates with a chance of winning, and immigration proposals with a chance of passing. I spent 39 years with immigration, 30 with the INS and 9 with USCIS. I worked both enforcement and benefits, and also taught at the INS academy. I was in management for 29 years and attended annual conferences. I have a good idea of what the problems are and what will not work.

      I favor the Dream Act but believe DACA is an abuse of the old non-priority program which was renamed deferred action after John Lennon was granted non-priority status. I worked my first deferred action case in 1977. At that time the deferred action regulations were printed on blue pages because they were not supposed to be shared with the public. Deferred Action was a discretionary program and only offered to extremely unusual hardship cases. I got more approved than most managers, but my total for my career was about 6. When hundreds of thousands of applicants, or even millions, will be offered a benefit, that benefit should be approved by Congress, or at least have public comment in the Federal Register.

      I also think some republicans are stupid for proposing an end to birthright citizenship, and a call for mandatory E-Verify before granting work permits. I was taught by the "Old Patrol." They respected the aliens they deported, and treated them with kindness (at least my early supervisors did - I started in 1972). Don't forget AgJobs - we will be without food if E-Verify is mandatory before a farm worker bill is passed. I could write a book on this subject, but nobody would publish it because I don't have 15,000 followers on twitter.
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