Immigration is one of the most important issues, if not the most important issue, in the 2016 presidential election. However, most debates, including the Thursday debate on Fox News, will leave voters largely in the dark on just how the candidates will handle the matter. There likely will be questions on securing the border and what to do with the 11-20 million people who are in this country illegally, but here are the all-important questions that likely will go unanswered:
- Currently there are 71.8 million working-age U.S. citizens and immigrants who are either unemployed, not in the labor force, or forced to work part-time. Does it make any sense to continue admitting over one million permanent residents a year, and several hundred thousand guest workers since so many Americans and legal immigrants need full-time employment?
- One of the arguments for admitting unskilled workers is that they do the jobs that Americans won’t do. If we stop the flow of unskilled workers, isn’t it fair to say that this will drive up wages for these jobs and make them more attractive to American workers?
- On the other side of this coin is the plight of skilled American workers who were laid off because their employers have imported some 650,000 foreign workers under the H1-B and L-1 programs to replace them at half the going wage. Disney and Southern California Edison recently have been exposed for this practice. Presently, two-thirds of entry level IT jobs go to foreign workers through the H1-B program. Would you abolish it?
- A big reason skilled foreign workers are willing to work for these wages is that it allows them to by-pass the immigration process and, in a few short years, become citizens. Would you abolish this practice?
- Currently 75% of our science, technology, engineering and math graduates are unemployed in these fields, yet American companies continue to import STEM workers. Many of these foreign workers make the transition right from American colleges and universities. What would you do about that?
- Approximately 300,000-400,000 babies are born here each year to foreign mothers who have entered our country illegally. That’s approximately one in ten births. Our country and Canada are the only remaining advanced economies that offer citizenship to children born to illegal aliens. What would you do about this?
- Politicians who favor allowing those who have broken into our country to stay often make the argument that we can’t separate families, referring to those who have an anchor baby or two? What’s keeping those families from taken their children home with them?
- Another 35,000 women enter our country legally as tourists for the sole purpose of giving birth in order to side-step the immigration process. What would you do about this?
- Currently, most Illegal immigrants who are apprehended at the border or ports of entry are simply given a ticket and allowed to enter the United States and told to show up for a court date. Will you end this policy and simply stop them at the border or detain them at ports of entry until they can be returned to their countries of origin?
- Current law requires legal immigrants and their American sponsors to certify that they will be economically self-sufficient. However, 49 percent of households headed by a legal immigrant receive some form of government assistance. Will you enforce the public-charge doctrine?
Would it surprise you to know that only two of the five remaining candidates have said they would end birthright citizenship? A third said, “It makes no sense.” One supports it and the other pretends it was settled by the 14th Amendment.
Would it surprise you to know that only two of the five remaining candidates have said they will enforce current law and deport those who are found to be here illegally? One of the two says he would allow the “good ones” to return, whatever that means. One would allow those here illegally to register to become guest workers and two support a pathway to citizenship.
Would it surprise you to know that only two candidates would suspend the H1-B program? A third would triple it with some changes and allow all foreign college students to remain here after graduation. The other two have not been challenged on this all-important issue.
Unfortunately, these questions likely won’t be asked of the candidates in the Fox News debate. You must find the answers for yourself. Don’t simply vote and hope for the best.