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Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Immigration Update: GOP’s Platform Takes a Tough Stance

by Newsteam Staff
August 22, 2012

A man tries to climb the wall separating the Mexican city of Nogales Sonora and Nogales Arizona May 1, 2010 (Alonso Castillo/Courtesy Reuters). A man tries to climb the wall separating the Mexican city of Nogales Sonora and Nogales Arizona May 1, 2010 (Alonso Castillo/Courtesy Reuters).


The Republican Party is officially endorsing a strong stance against illegal immigration with changes to the party platform agreed to days before the national party convention begins in Tampa.

The platform committee Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to add 2008 language (Politico) proposed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach calling for the completion of a border fence, the end of in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and an end to sanctuary cities. The committee also voted to support national E-Verify, a federal database meant to help employers avoid hiring undocumented workers, and says the Department of Justice should drop lawsuits against controversial state immigration laws (TheHill) in Arizona, Alabama, South Carolina, and Utah.

The candidates weighed in on the U.S. Supreme Court’s split ruling on Arizona’s controversial immigration law back in June and immigration has been an on-again/off-again issue for the presidential candidates in 2012 as they continue to debate the best way to address issues such as undocumented youth brought here by their parents, border security, and deportation policy.

Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has toned down the hardline immigration rhetoric he used in the primaries after concerns he had alienated Latino voters, but the additions to his party’s platform may not help his case.

President Barack Obama has also been wooing the Latino voters that helped sweep him into office in 2008. He has most recently given an executive order to ends the deportation of most young illegal immigrants and granting them special work visas instead, but there is debate about how much such measures will help in the current election.

At New York mayor and media mogul Michael R. Bloomberg writes that immigration and its economic implications should be a bigger issue in the 2012 presidential race. “The U.S. cannot retain its global leadership with self-defeating immigration policies. The competition for immigrant talent is too fierce, and the consequences of losing the battle are too great,” Bloomberg says. “[W]e must demand that the presidential candidates and their surrogates stop using immigration as a prod to excite their respective bases and begin treating it as the serious economic issue it is.”

For more on the candidates’ stances, check out CFR’s Issue Tracker on The Candidates and Immigration.

Suggested Other Reading:

At CFR’s Renewing America project earlier this year, Edward Alden discussed how political dysfunction in Washington has impacted immigration reform and what it has meant for U.S. businesses.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce says that reforming immigration laws crucial to the U.S. global competitive advantage. “Investment follows the talent and attempts to restrict the hiring of talented foreign-born professionals in the United States encourages such hiring to take place overseas, where the investment dollars will follow,” the Chamber’s study warns.

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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