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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Presidential candidates announce plans for immigration reform

With the 2016 presidential campaigns in full swing, candidates on both sides of the isle are presenting their reforms, ideas and plans for immigration in America. 

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, there were 11.3 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. in 2014. Out of those 11.3 million, Mexicans made up 52 percent of all undocumented immigrants; however, that percentage has been declining in recent years. 

Like many other issues moved to the front burner during political campaigns, immigration has become a hot topic. In May 2015, the Pew Research Center found that 72 percent of Americans believe there should be a way for undocumented immigrants to stay legally in America rather than being deported, while 17 percent believe those who have come to America illegally should be sent back to their country of origin. 

Presidential hopeful Donald Trump has been making enormous splashes on the 2016 campaign trail with controversial statements regarding a variety of issues including immigration.

According to Trump’s immigration plan, he believes there must be a wall, paid for by Mexico, along the Southern border, laws like e-verify must be enforced and there must be a “mandatory return of all criminal aliens.” 

Timothy DesJarlais, a junior studying political science and history, said he disagrees with Trump’s stance on mass deportation. 

“Such deportations would be not only enormously costly, but would be cruel as a good portion of those brought over illegally have little knowledge of their own nation, having been to our schools, watched our TV, played our sports and eaten our food, and in they are American in every sense except on legal paper,” DesJarlais said. 

Felipe Abril, an employee at the UA, said he disagrees with Trump’s stance to make Mexico pay for a wall along the border.  

“It is not Mexico’s responsibility to prevent illegal immigration,” Abril said.  “[The United States] should work with [Mexico] mutually as opposed to placing the responsibility solely on one [country].”  

Abril also stresses the importance of candidates visiting the border before proposing immigration reform. 

“It seems like they only hear about the negatives and form opinions and policies based on those negatives,” Abril said. 

DesJarlais said he recognizes that immigration is an issue that everyone is aware of, however “many lack the political will to do anything about it.” 

In light of Trump’s remarks on immigration, DesJarlais said he turns to presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida. 

“Being a son of immigrants, [Rubio] has first-hand knowledge and experience in what the life of immigrants [is] like,” DesJarlais said. “I believe he also has the most realistic approach to immigration as well.”  

Rubio’s track record of addressing the immigration problem in America and his ethnic background also put him on the top of the list for DesJarlais. 

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont is another candidate taking a bid at the White House. 

According to Sanders’ campaign website, as president, Sanders will sign comprehensive immigration reform to “bring undocumented workers out of the shadows” and increase funding for Legal Services Corporation, which provides legal representation to guest workers. 

“Employers should be required to reimburse guest workers for housing, transportation expenses and workers’ compensation,” Sanders said. 

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will also call for comprehensive immigration reform from Congress, according to her campaign website. Both Sanders and Clinton support the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors, also known as the DREAM Act, according to their campaign websites. 

Joseph Heininger, a pre-business freshman, said he believes that, although open borders are not the answer, an expedited process of citizenship is necessary. 

“The paperwork takes decades to get through, a streamline of the process [would make becoming a citizen easier and more timely],” Heininger said. 

According to a Pew Research Center study, about 81 percent of those younger than 30 years old say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. legally, while 53 percent say undocumented immigrants should be allowed to apply for citizenship. 

From senators to a neurosurgeon and everything in between, voters this election year have a wide variety of candidates wanting to earn their vote. With a variety of candidates comes an array of opinions, reforms and stances on numerous issues that will take Americans to the polls in 2016.

Follow Amanda Oien on Twitter.

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