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Obama Responds to Immigration Survey

By September 19, 2008

Obama answers immigration survey

The Sanctuary, a pro-migrant and civil liberties group, recently asked presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama to complete a questionnaire, which included a number of immigration-related questions. Senator McCain has not responded to The Sanctuary's request, but Senator Obama has provided some detailed answers that provide a deeper look into his plans for immigration reform.

Some of the highlights of Obama's responses:

  • On Raids: Obama doesn't provide a direct answer when asked if he would support a immediate moratorium on immigration raids, although he does admit that these raids are not a long-term solution. Additionally, in a subsequent question he states that he will ensure immigration enforcement is better executed and detainees will receive safe, humane treatment. These answers give us the impression that immigration raids will likely continue.

  • On the Border Fence: Obama supports physical fencing along the border in addition to sensor technology and additional personnel, and he will work with local communities to ensure additional fencing is not economically or environmentally destructive. We do not know what, if any, review would take place of fencing already in place.

  • On Visa Caps: Obama supports an increase in the cap of low-skilled employment-based green cards. He does not directly answer the question about raising the H-1B temporary work visa cap, but instead says he would "consider multiple proposals for increasing access" to people to work in the U.S.

  • On a Guest Worker Program: Guest workers would fill worker shortages in some sectors of the economy and the program would include a path to citizenship.

  • On Green Cards for Same-Sex Partners: Obama supports the United American Families Act which would allow same-sex partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to obtain permanent residency.

The question here is why hasn't Senator McCain responded to the survey? Did he feel that The Sanctuary wasn't high-profile enough to warrant a response? Is he too afraid of risking the votes of certain community groups if he delves too deeply into his immigration reform plan right before the election? We'll see if McCain's response suddenly surfaces now that Obama's responses have been published.

Photo: David McNew/Getty Images


September 20, 2008 at 12:11 pm
(1) Tom says:

I wish they would have asked him his view on the treatment of Guatamalan illegal immigrants in Mexico. Does he see any hypocrisy in the Mexican government criticizing the U.S. and yet they treat Guatamalan illegal immigrants far more harshly then we treat Mexican illegal immigrants. BTW, I’m for 100% automatic citizenship for all Mexican Illegal Immigrants in the U.S. The current undocumented status only benefits Corporate America and groups like La Raza – both of which have a vested interested in keeping these hard-working poor people stuck in the underclass. La Raza gets more political strength because of this and Corporate America gets cheap labor.

They should have also asked Obama on his thoughts on the treatment of refugees from Zimbabwe in South Africa since he has professed to being a big fan of Thabo Mbeke.

Regarding H-1B’s, they were originally developed so the National Science Foundation could have a ready supply of doctoral candidates that worked for low wages. Then Jack Abramoff had it greatly expanded at the behest of Corporate America. Now, with rising unemployment, students heavily in debt from their college loans, and inflation creeping upwards it seems to me a poor time to expand this program by 400,000 workers a year (or whatever Rep. Zoe Lofgrens most recent increase # is).

I’ll be holding my nose while I vote for McCain. I know where he stands on these issues. Obama, he talks change but he reminds me of machine politics.

September 20, 2008 at 2:48 pm
(2) Buzzm1 says:

Obama speaks out of both sides of his mouth.

Obama is pro-illegal immigrant and there isn’t any reason to believe otherwise, despite what his answers are to the survey.



#1. Secure the Border!!!
#2. Mandate E-Verify for ALL Employees!!!
#3. Mandate E-Verify for ANY Benefit!!!
#4. Stop the Underground Economy!!!
#5. End Birthright Citizenship for Illegals!!!
……and make it retroactive!!!
#6. End Chain Migration!!!
#7. Make English our Official Language!!!
#8. Cut Off Federal Funds to Sanctuary Cities!!


September 23, 2008 at 10:11 am
(3) Mark R says:

I am very glad that this year both candidates are fundamentally pro-immigration.

McCain has to be given the advantage over Obama on this issue–he has worked on it for a long time, understands the nuances, and has been a champion of reforming the current cruel and economically destructive system.

As an aside, if the spasm of hysteria and hate against illegal immigrants truly drove 2 million people out of the U.S.–2 million who worked, payed taxes, rented and owned houses—could that be a major contributing factor to the collapse of housing prices?

September 23, 2008 at 10:23 am
(4) Reddiespirit says:

Buzzm1, your forefathers were immigrants too!!!! They didn’t come here speaking English either. America is a land of opportunity. You would come here by any means necessary as well to take better care of your family. It’s a human’s instinct to survive, dummy.

September 23, 2008 at 3:21 pm
(5) Helen says:

Let’s remember the Guatemalans keep coming to USA because they can’t make a living in their country, and raise their children decently. Most of them are huts honest, christians family people and they deserve their space under the sun. But instead of constantly debating on how we can open or close the borders, I would love to hear some debate on how we could buy more from them, help them create industries and relocalize our Chinese production in Guatemala. At least we could have a better control on the products, we would not poison dogs and infants with melamine and we would help these people stay happily in their country

September 25, 2008 at 1:09 pm
(6) chuma udenkwo says:

We seem to forget too quick how the present America came to be. Surely all illegal immigrants who are now legal by their sheer intimidation and acquisition of the rich assets of the Red Indians. We never read anywhere where the old original inhabitants of today America issued Visas to British, Irish and European migrants before they settled. America should work hard to create oppurtunities for those who have something better to offer to America and to mankind easy access to the land, especially Africans. The greatness of America was built on the sweat and crying blood of our ancestors who never begged or cued for visa to work in the plantations, mines and the railways. If the leaders of America truely trust in God as they claim, they should soften their immigration laws and take such decisions that will develop other nations and reduce the rush to the country borders.
Concerned African

September 25, 2008 at 2:49 pm
(7) j b patel says:

only telented should be allowed

September 26, 2008 at 7:05 pm
(8) Lauren says:

I would have to disagree with the notion that voting for McCain will put a man in the White House that stands for what you believe in on immigration; both men have very similar policies.

In response to how Mexicans treat Guatemalans, although horrible and hypocritical, you cannot stop there. If you aim to discuss grave human rights violations and the treatment of innocent civilians we should look to Guantanamo Bay and the 700+ prisoners, on our watch, that have never been convicted of a single crime or the harsh regime of Omar Al-Bashir in Sudan and the killing of over 400,000 Darfurians–a genocide that Obama has spoken out against.

I am sorry to hear that someone with such concern for the well-being of undocumented workers would vote Republican in November. McCain has voted with Bush policies 90% of the time–he is certainly not the change we need!

December 3, 2008 at 9:03 am
(9) ooopinionsss says:

How you think when the economic crisis will end? I wish to make statistics of independent opinions!

May 15, 2010 at 4:43 am
(10) Michael Shatswell says:

Reddiespirit: My ancestors migrated here as well several decades ago. I believe it was done legally, but if you’d like to dig up my great,great,great,great,great grandfather and ask him for his paperwork then be my guest. The rest of my family has resided here legally for hundreds of years, speaks the native language and contributes to our society.

It is natural for humans to want to survive and illegal immigration is endangering those of us who are here legally. We want to survive too. They need to go back and get in line behind honest immigrants who are interested in learning our language, contributing to our society and flying our flag on our soil. We do not recognize dual citizenship here in The United States of America. You’re either with us or against us.

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