GOP Debate Downplays Immigration

by Cesar Calderon | August 11, 2015

Cesar CalderonCesar Calderon is an Arizona Dreamer. After suffering a car accident in 2006 which left him with a disability he graduated from Mesa High School in 2012 and is now enrolled at his local Community College. He is majoring in Journalism and wants to pursue a minor in Political Science. As an aspiring Journalist he looks to inform all of what goes on in the world of politics.

The 2015 Republican Debate in Cleveland, Ohio, has officially come and gone. Immigration advocates were not pleased.

The ten men making the cut for the Fox Debate did not frequently raise the issue, and neither did the moderator: of the eleven candidates, only six who were asked about their stance on immigration.

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush stated that illegal immigration is not “a crime but an act of love” in the past, and repeated this statement tonight. He went on to say that he agrees that there should be some type of immigration reform, but does not agree on amnesty.

Jeb elaborated a bit on that subject, saying that there should be a pathway to citizenship for undocumented citizens. He did not, however, say whether he would do such a thing. In fact, he emphasized that we need stronger border security before anything else could be done.

In his closing statement, he reassured voters that immigration is an important topic that should stop being politicized:

“I expect their position to be one of paranoid nationalism. Their constituents want to hear an anti immigrant rant. It is time to consider the Green Party platform on immigration and take a stand for what is the right position and not the best of the worst or the lesser of evil,” said immigrant advocate Richard Hartwell.

Senator Marc Rubio (R-FL) did not go into great detail, saying only that he is the son of immigrants and that many are trying to come through existing channels. He went on to state that, contrary to Donald Trump’s beliefs, Mexican immigration was decreasing.

Immigrants advocate Maria Belen Sisa stated “The GOP candidates did nothing to reach out to the Latino community at last night’s debate. They are disconnected and continued to use their stage to consistently attack the immigrant community and colored community.”

Unsurprisingly, Rubio emphasized on a stronger border or fence. He failed, however, to touch on the fact that there are an estimated eleven million undocumented citizens living in our country at the moment, and many of them came with visas.

There was much changing around as Republican Governor Scott Walker stated that a little over two years ago, immigration reform “made sense,” yet has since changed his stance on immigration, opposing any form of “amnesty.”

Senator Ted Cruz helped to drag immigration to the right with his opposition to Sanctuary Cities through a law he co-authored which would set a mandatory minimum of years before one could reenter our country after a deportation if they have committed a felony.

Cruz stated that he never supported amnesty, and took pride in saying he opposed the gang of eight’s call for the need of comprehensive immigration reform.

When Donald Trump had his turn to speak on immigration, he said “If it wasn’t for me, no one would be talking about immigration,” but immigration is a topic that was already being hotly debated. He went on to repeat rumors he allegedly heard from the Border Patrol officers as facts, and continue to contradict the numbers.

“We were not surprise that the extreme candidates, like Trump or Cruz, would continue to scapegoat immigrants to keep their candidacy afloat,” said Cesar Vargas, co-director of the Dream Action Coalition.

Candidates focused heavily on the need to secure our border. While that is an important issue, they left untouched the question of what to do with an estimated eleven million undocumented immigrants living in the country today.