The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

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

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What They’re Saying: Take on the Immigration Impasse

by Newsteam Staff
October 2, 2012

Undocumented UCLA students attend workshop for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program August 15, 2012. (Jonathan Alcorn/Courtesy Reuters) Undocumented UCLA students attend workshop for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program August 15, 2012. (Jonathan Alcorn/Courtesy Reuters)


On Immigration

In a piece for the Huffington Post, Mallika Dutt accuses both President Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney of inaction on the immigration issue.

Obama recently used his executive muscle to push through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which is serving as a lifeline for more than 1.7 million undocumented young people. Romney, while failing to commit to the policy specifics, has also expressed support for legislation resembling the DREAM Act.

The Washington Post editorial board also criticized Romney’s lack of specifics:

In Mr. Romney’s latest foray into immigration policy, during a forum broadcast online by the Spanish-language Univision network, he promised to “put into place an immigration reform system that resolves this issue.” And how exactly would he do that? The candidate wouldn’t say.

The editorial goes on to say:

[S]aying he would solve the problem is not the same as presenting a blueprint to do so. By fudging the specifics, he has made clear that he really has no policy at all and indicated that a Romney presidency would turn a blind eye to the nation’s broken immigration system.

However, the Post gave Obama a pass on his failure to move forward on comprehensive immigration reform:

Mr. Obama, for his part, has failed to make progress on his 2008 campaign promise to enact sweeping immigration reform that would include a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. And he has angered some Hispanics and immigration advocacy groups by stepping up the pace of deportations.

But he is right that the main hurdle to a meaningful deal on immigration — one that would tighten enforcement and acknowledge reality by extending some form of amnesty to 11 million undocumented immigrants — is the uniform opposition of congressional Republicans, including those who once favored such an approach.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on immigration.

On a Nuclear Iran

Former Republican senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum criticized Obama’s Iran policy, saying he “won’t stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons” (Newsmax).

“Well, you can’t stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon unless you take away their capability of doing so — and to do that requires taking down their electric grid, taking other things that would stop their development of this technology, which would have at least some impact on civilians.

“The president’s been very clear and his positions don’t jibe,” Santorum concluded. “You can’t say I want to stop Iran and then say I won’t do anything policywise that will stop Iran, and that’s why Benjamin Netanyahu has said what he said: that we have to have policies that draw a red line and this president is refusing to do it.”

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on U.S.-Iran Policy.

On the Middle East

TIME‘s Joe Klein defended President Obama’s Arab Spring policy, saying that despite some failings, there is no better alternative.

The chance of returning to a neo-colonial relationship with the region is not only impossible, but also unnecessary and wildly at variance with our national values.

The best we can do now is try to stabilize these fledgling democracies, while continuing our largely successful campaign against Al Qaeda and other Salafi extremists.

The column was written in response to one by Charles Krauthammer in the Washington Post, in which he urged GOP nominee Mitt Romney to “go large” in opposing Obama’s strategy.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on democracy promotion in the Arab world.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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