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10 Immigration Questions for 2016 Democratic Candidates Ahead of Next Week’s Debate

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Washington, DC – In sharp contrast to the Republican field, the 2016 Democratic candidates are united in support of a path to citizenship for aspiring Americans, and interim measures like DACA and DAPA.  It’s important to remember that this wasn’t always the case, and this is a huge victory for the immigration movement.    

In fact, Pew Research polling shows that the Democrats’ position is in line with a durable mainstream view on immigration, and that the Republicans are hopelessly out of touch with even a majority in their own party.

Of course, there are key policy differences among the Democratic candidates that we hope Tuesday night’s debate will explore. Following are a list of our top ten questions for the Democratic candidates, as well as additional 2016 resources.

10 Immigration Questions for Democratic Presidential Candidates:  

1) On immigration, what do you think the Obama Administration has done right and what do you think the Obama Administration has done wrong?  What would your administration do differently?

2) Some people say that some of the Republican candidates, like Donald Trump and Ben Carson, are espousing racist and derogatory comments about immigrants.  As a candidate for the nation’s highest office, do you have an obligation to denounce negative remarks by your opponents?  Or is it better to ignore these candidates?   

3) Congressional Republicans are trying to pass a law to have police act as immigration agents.  A version of this bill is waiting for signature by the North Carolina Governor.  Where do you stand on the issue of community policing and immigration enforcement?  

4) In 1996, Congress passed a series of bills that cracked down on immigrants, with support from some Democrats.  President Bill Clinton signed those bills into law.  Do you support the 1996 laws?  Have Democrats changed their way of thinking on immigration since the mid-1990s?  

5) President Obama’s deferred action policies (DACA and DAPA) cover those who came here as children and individuals who are parents of U.S. Citizens or legal residents.  They leave out people who have been here for a long time and contributed to the country, but don’t happen to have children.  Do you think those individuals should be included in executive action policies?

6) DAPA and the expansion of DACA are currently held up in the courts.  Do you think these policies will ever be implemented?  Do you support expanding them?  

7) Have you ever visited an immigration detention facility?  How about one where women and children are housed?  If yes, what did you think about the system?  If no, will you commit to doing so as a candidate?

8) An Illinois father, Brigido Acosta Luis, was deported in November 2013.  An Ohio father, Javier Flores, was deported in September 2014, just weeks before the Obama Administration’s new policies were announced.  Pastor Max Villatoro was deported in March 2015 after a massive public campaign to stop his deportation.  These men all left behind spouses and U.S. Citizen children.  Do you think their families should be able to reunite in the United States? 

9) Senator Rubio, who used to support comprehensive immigration reform, now embraces a “piecemeal” approach.  He claims that we have to prove that the border is secure before debating other reforms like a path to citizenship.  Do you think this “compromise” approach will work and break the log jam in Congress?  

10) The Obama Administration has agreed to resettle 85,000 refugees in Fiscal Year 2016, including 10,000 from Syria.  Do you think this is too much, too little, or just right?  What obligation does the United States have to take in people fleeing death and persecution around the world?

Additional Resources from America’s Voice

America’s Voice overview on the 2016 Democratic presidential candidates: http://americasvoice.org/research/meet-the-2016-democratic-candidates-for-president-and-their-positions-on-immigration/

America’s Voice report: Will Democrats Embrace the New Politics of Immigration in 2016?http://americasvoice.org/research/will-democrats-embrace-the-new-politics-of-immigration-in-2016/

America’s Voice press release: As Trump’s Hateful Rhetoric Gains Steam, Event in Iowa Offers Fresh Reminder of Need for Civil Discussion on Immigration Reform in America: http://americasvoice.org/press_releases/as-trumps-hateful-rhetoric-gains-steam-event-in-iowa-offers-fresh-reminder-of-need-for-civil-discussion-on-immigration-reform-in-america/

Follow Frank Sharry and America’s Voice on Twitter: @FrankSharry and @AmericasVoice

America’s Voice — Harnessing the power of American voices and American values to win common sense immigration reform