Dennis Kucinich on Immigration
Democratic Representative (OH-10)
A: Rely on the Constitution. We don’t encourage vigilantism in this country. We have due process, we have equal protection, we have habeas corpus. As I’ve said: Cancel NAFTA. Negotiate a new trade agreement with Mexico based on workers rights, human rights, and environmental quality principles. Give a path to legalization for the people who have been here. You can’t send them home willy-nilly.
A: I was able to defeat an English-only proposal in the Ohio Senate years ago when I pointed out our state’s founding documents were in German. We need to have our children learn languages. Why are we separating ourselves from the possibility of being able to merge with the world? An insular and isolated America doesn’t cut it. I’m talking about encouraging the American people to reach out.
A: I take issue with your description of people being illegal immigrants. There aren’t any illegal human beings. They are undocumented. The best way to deal with this is cancel NAFTA and renegotiate the trade agreement with Mexico. You give people a path to legalization and make sure that you don’t criminalize their status any further. I take exception to the way you framed that question
A: Yes. When I was mayor of Cleveland, I made it a point to reach out to our Hispanic community in the city of Cleveland. And before that, 40 years ago, when I was a candidate for city council, it was the involvement in the Hispanic community that proved to create the circumstances for my election. So I have a deep understanding of the economic issues that people deal with.
A: First of all, a Kucinich administration will build relationships between nations, not walls. We need to move forward with an America that remembers where we came from, and immigration reform has to be central to it. That means there must be a path to legalization, because there are no illegal human beings. We have to start looking at our policies, which are aimed at separating people. Everyone here understands that the immigration acceleration occurred after the passage of NAFTA. I’ve said one of my first acts in office will be to cancel NAFTA and the WTO and go back to trade based on workers’ rights. And then we have a new trade agreement with Mexico, a trade agreement that strengthens America and Mexico and strengthens the rights of workers to organize and collectively bargain.
A: We’re forgetting who we are as Americans. You have to remember the message of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses.” We’re forgetting that.
Q: Would you allow these sanctuary cities to disobey the federal law?
A: Absolutely. You know what? There’s a moral law here. And the moral law says that the immigrants are being used and mistreated.
It is a blot on American history that we have maintained a system of slave labor, and now we’re blaming the immigrants for that. We can have sane immigration policies. But we have to stop blaming the victim.
We have to also make sure that we do not exclude people from an opportunity. Those who have been here, who have paid their taxes and paid their dues for the last decade need to have a chance to have a path to citizenship. They should not be told, after they’ve made their contribution to our economy, “No, we don’t want you anymore; go home,” because America is their new home.
A: Yes. I will clear out the backlog in the naturalization process and offer immigrants a clear road map to citizenship. I will work with our partners in Mexico to normalize the flow of immigrants by forging an agreement on migration.
DEAN: You have to be a little bit careful about how you do that, otherwise you will have a disproportionate number of people who are Hispanic joining the army simply to do that. So the answer is, if you serve America, yes, you ought to get citizenship. But we have to be very careful just exactly how we offer that so we don’t have an unfair, disproportionate affect on Hispanics in this country who are not citizens.
KUCINICH: First, that we all agree that people ought to have citizenship if they serve this country. We also ought to agree that there ought to be amnesty for anyone who has been working in this country and would otherwise be denied rights. Third, we ought to talk about how the Bush administration’s program that they just announced is really a program for indentured servitude because what they are talking about is locking people into control by corporations.
KUCINICH: One of the tragedies of 9/11 is that we’ve forgotten who we are as a nation. In the fear that’s covered this country, we’ve forgotten about the optimism and hope that led so many people to sail under that light of Lady Liberty. Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
America must remember where we came from as a nation. And in doing that, we need to extend our arms once again to the world community and bring those, the tempest-tossed, to the US.
Yes, I’m for amnesty. Yes, I’m for legalization of status. Yes, I’m for broadening citizenship possibilities. Yes, I’m for enforcing the Fair Labor Standards Act and making sure that those workers who come from Mexico have all of the protections of federal law and including universal health care.
Proponents support voting YES because:
It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of two-layered reinforced fencing, and for the rest of the border provides a virtual fence, via integrated surveillance technology.
Opponents support voting NO because:
Just to build the fence is going to cost us at least $7 billion. Where is the money coming from to pay for it? How much is it going to cost to maintain this 700-mile fence? Who is going to do it? This bill contains no funding.
This bill also ignores real enforcement measures, like hiring more Border Patrol personnel, and instead builds a Berlin Wall on our southern border. So long as employers need workers in this country, and while our immigration systems impede rather than facilitate timely access of willing workers to those opportunities, undocumented immigration will never be controlled.
Walls, barriers, and military patrols will only force those immigrants to utilize ever more dangerous routes and increase the number of people who die in search of an opportunity to feed and clothe their families.
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to provide a foreign government information relating to the activities of an organized volunteer civilian action group, operating in the State of California, Texas, New Mexico, or Arizona, unless required by international treaty.
The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is a national, non-profit, public interest membership organization of concerned citizens united by their belief in the need for immigration reform. Founded in 1979, FAIR believes that the U.S. can and must have an immigration policy that is non-discriminatory and designed to serve the environmental, economic, and social needs of our country.
FAIR seeks to improve border security, to stop illegal immigration, and to promote immigration levels consistent with the national interest—more traditional rates of about 300,000 a year.
With more than 70,000 members nationwide, FAIR is a non-partisan group whose membership runs the gamut from liberal to conservative.
The ratings are based on the votes the organization considered most important; the numbers reflect the percentage of time the representative voted the organization's preferred position.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:
U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.
Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.