Latina Magazine: Election 2012: The GOP Candidates' Stance on Immigration

Latinos are furious with the President for failing to deliver on his promise of immigration reform as I outline in the series "Anatomy of an Immigration Debate" and the Latina Magazine post that preceded this one which looks at Obama's stance on this political hot button issue.  But where do those vying to be his Republican challenger in 2012 stand and what alternative, if any, are they offering? As it appears on


Newt Gingrich is up in the polls. Rick Perry is down.  As the Republican field narrows before President Barack Obama’s challenger is chosen, we thought it was only fair to take to look at where these hopefuls stand on the key political issue of immigration, since we broke down the President's stance last week. Decide for yourselves!

Moats, Alligators, & Electrocution: Herman Cain said at an Iowa campaign stop that the U.S. should build a electrified, 20 foot “Great Wall” along the border with an alligator-filled moat that would electrocute illegal immigrants.  Responding to criticism, the former Godfather’s Pizza CEO said he was joking and that American needs to get a sense of humor.

DREAMer Liability: As governor of Texas, Rick Perry has gotten heat for supporting a local version of the DREAM Act which allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition.  But he has cracked down on “sanctuary cities” that protect illegal immigrants and imposed tough restrictions on driver’s licenses for immigrants.

Flip Flopper?: Mitt Romney has taken a tough stance against illegal immigrants in the Republican debates.  But reports surfaced that he employed gardeners without work permits while he was Governor of Massachusetts and that he made state-funded Medicaid available to illegal immigrants under his health care reform.

Mass Deportation is Impractical: Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who led the 1994 Republican Revolution, believes deporting the illegal immigrant population is unrealistic. He supports the DREAM Act, and favors building a border fence manned by Department of Homeland—as opposed to Border Patrol—agents.

Double-Sided Fence: Claiming illegal immigrants cost the U.S. more than $100 billion dollars a year, Michele Bachmann signed a pledge advocating for the construction of a 2000-mile fence along the border with Mexico.  She supports denying undocumented immigrants benefits and citizenship to their American born children benefits, saying, “We’ve got to end this anchor-baby program.”

The Moderate: Former Governor of Utah Jon Huntsman threatened to veto a measure repealing in-state tuition to attend college for illegal immigrant students.  He supports increasing immigration for high-skilled workers and rejects deporting en masse the estimated 12 million undocumented workers, favoring instead a “pathway to citizenship” after paying fines and learning English.

Secure Borders Before Sending Troops to War: Against giving undocumented workers “amnesty,” Ron Paul also opposes citizenship for children of illegal immigrants born in this country.  He voted against the DREAM Act and believes the federal government should secure our border before sending off troops to war.

Enforce Current Laws: Rick Santorum opposed the 2006 immigration proposal when he was in the Senate because he believes the U.S. should enforce the existing laws. The former Pennsylvania Senator supports more border security in the form of a fence and National Guard troops to guard it; denying undocumented immigrants benefits, and establishing English as the U.S.‘s national language.

To read more of Viviana’s politics pieces in Latinaclick here.

President George W. Bush favored reforming parts of the immigration system, including allowing a guest worker program.  What kind of change, if any, will be carried out if a Republican defeats President Obama?