This is the sixth part of a multi-part series taking a deeper dive into various important topics in the 2020 election. On the 100-point scale I am using to grade candidates, immigration is worth 11 points.
This section of the dossier has been revised and updated to reflect the general election field.
In perhaps the most extreme category so far, this subject has been the main focus of one of my Republican candidates, yet basically ignored by another. This study in contrasts should make for an interesting file within the dossier, particularly when you add everyone else.
Over the last sixty years we have gradually opened up the spigots on immigration after a comparative freeze during the middle of the twentieth century – a time we were preoccupied by war and economic depression. But reforms in 1965 and 1986 have created a ping-pong ball of sorts as we bounce between the interests of Democrats (as well as their GOP-backing Chamber of Commerce allies) who want more free and unfettered immigration against the border hawks who want to secure the borders and limit the influx, whether as a pause or more permanently – returning closer to a stance we had after our large wave of immigration in the early 1900s when we became very selective about who got in.
So what do those running here in Delaware think? I am going by party beginning with the Republicans for House and Senate, respectively, then proceeding through the Libertarians, Independent Party of Delaware candidates, and finally the incumbent Democrats Lisa Blunt Rochester and Chris Coons for House and Senate, respectively.
Lee Murphy (R) (House)
There is an interesting hodgepodge of ideas made on Lee’s issues page, where he states, “Congress has shirked their responsibility to find a permanent solution to our nation’s Border Crisis. I will support Customs and Border Patrol and ICE in their efforts to protect our sovereignty. I will support legislation that addresses the visa, permanent resident, and citizenship issues of those who wish to pledge allegiance to our nation legally. We must stop politicizing this national crisis.”
As I noted up top, Congress has “shirked their responsibility” because the issue has been a ping-pong ball for a half-century. Supporting Customs, Border Patrol, and ICE is nice (and necessary) but the second part of the statement leads me to believe Lee is in the “pathway to citizenship” camp that would reward those who came illegally at the expense of those who came the correct way as well as encourage more illegal border crossings – while the southern border has the reputation for being the conduit for illegal immigrants, in reality the larger proportion are those who overstay their visas. In either case, a path to citizenship should begin by them returning home.
In finding his 2018 campaign website among the internet archives, I found my suspicions were correct, to wit:
“Immigrants should be encouraged to come to the United States based on merit and a willingness to be assimilated into our culture.” This was the basic reason most immigrants came here 100 years ago, yet despite the latter many who couldn’t prove their worth were turned away.
But in looking at Lee c. 2018 this was the kicker:”Illegal immigrants who have lived in our country for years and who have been working or serving in the military should pay the penalty for breaking the law, as would any U.S. citizen. After paying the penalty, illegal immigrants should, if they meet all the requirements, be offered a pathway to citizenship. This will help ensure that families of illegal immigrants can stay together, protecting the innocent. The children of illegal immigrants who are born in America should, as U.S. citizens, retains all their rights as citizens per the Constitution.”
That’s a loophole which needs to be closed, pronto. 2 points out of 11.
Lauren Witzke (R) (Senate)
Honestly I could write half the night on Lauren and immigration. Sometimes I think she does.
Ask yourself, though: how many candidates for office in Delaware take a field trip to the Mexican border? She has. So to say this is her primary issue would be to sound like Captain Obvious.
Some of her ideas: a full 10-year moratorium on immigration, meaning we net zero immigrants (so immigants equal emigrants – although that number of emigrants will supposedly be pretty high if Trump wins again), ending DACA and commencing the deportation of DACA recipients, ending chain migration and birthright citizenship, and placing more restrictions on work visas. The result, she claims, would be that, “Delawareans and the rest of America will see a rise in wages, and American college students will compete in the labor market without being put at a massive disadvantage. This plan relies on the basic principles of supply and demand, and common sense. Beltway elites seem to understand neither.”
Obviously this is a harder line than most in Congress would take, so I imagine progress on her agenda would be slow and may take multiple election cycles as the Senate only changes partially each time. But then again, perhaps it’s time someone drags things in that direction. 10 points out of 11.
David Rogers (L) (House)
“I don’t know if we need to go back to an open borders policy,” he writes, “but we should ease immigration restrictions especially for those coming here to work.” I can see that to a point, but the problem is that people don’t just come to work and they don’t always go home. 2 points out of 11.
Nadine Frost (L) (Senate)
You’ll notice she was creeping up on the leader Witzke, so having nothing in this category is a huge unforced error. No points.
Catherine Stonestreet Purcell (IPoD) (House)
She’s also not taking advantage of recent gains. No points.
Mark Turley (IPoD) (Senate)
He likes the idea of strong immigration reform and believes DACA is a “good program.” I don’t. But I like the idea of strong immigration reform, just not in a sense of making it easier. 1 point out of 11.
Lisa Blunt Rochester (incumbent D) (House)
Her issue-free campaign continues apace. No points.
Chris Coons (incumbent D) (Senate)
On the other hand, we can count on Chris to get it wrong. “Chris is a leading voice for comprehensive immigration reform, and he has been outspoken against President Trump’s cruel policies, his nationalist, anti-immigrant rhetoric, and his proposal to build a wall along the southern border. Chris has also been a champion for DREAMers, and he has fought Republican efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.”
Being restrictive on immigration is not “cruel,” border security is paramount, and DREAMers should go to the line for citizenship after returning to the country they came from. 0 points out of 11.
House: Murphy 22.5, CSP 10.5, Rogers 6, LBR 3.5.
Senate: Witzke 29.5, Frost 15.5, Turley 6.5, Coons 1.
Again, I’m looking at a rather sparse subpart to the dossier next as we consider foreign policy. Despite the fact our actual military operations may be winding down, we have a lot of adversaries to contend with and I want to know how they prefer to deal with them.