Today the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) kicks off a multi-day event featuring a contingent of likely 2016 Republican presidential contenders, conservative activists and media observers. Immigration is sure to be a dominant focus of both CPAC and the 2016 presidential cycle.
During his town hall event last night in Miami, President Obama focused attention on the essential immigration policy question to ask of Republican candidates. When discussing Republican candidates’ outreach to Latino voters, President Obama said:
When they start asking for votes, the first question should be, ‘Do you really intend to deport 11 million people?…And if not, what is your plan to make sure that they have the ability to have a legal status, stay with their families and, ultimately, contribute to the United States of America?’
We agree. And we would add one additional key question:
“If, as expected, the courts uphold the President’s executive actions, will you maintain or end these policies, especially the DACA expansion and DAPA programs?”
Select pro-reform Republicans, such as Jeb Bush, have couched opposition to executive action by relating their preference for a legislative solution. But would Governor Bush and others end the program when taking office? Or would they keep them in place until a legislative solution can be forged? (See this excellent Huffington Post column from Florida-based immigrant advocate Juan Escalante for more on the key immigration questions facing Jeb Bush).
We look forward to these questions being fully answered before the American people choose their next President.