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Leading 6 Presidential Candidates on Immigration Issues

Immigration has again become one of the more contentious issues among the presidential primary candidates. Immigration laws are overdue for an overhaul, making the views of the man or woman entering the oval office next critical. With all of the debates, attacks, and changing of positions, it can be difficult to discern where each candidate stands on the subject. Trump, who has made the loudest splash across headlines on immigrants in the United States, is not alone in having an opinion on how to solve America's immigration issues. As the primary season is fast approaching, it is important to understand where each candidate stands on the subjects. In an effort to provide some clarity on the candidate's current stances on major immigration issues, I broke up the leading candidates' current messaging by major topic.

Building a Fence on the Mexico-U.S. Border

Carson - Not only would build a fence between the two countries within the first year, but would not rule out defending the border with military drones.

Christie - Has stated he is against a wall on the border. Christie gained some media attention when he suggested his own way to curb out-of-status immigrants was by suggesting the U.S. begin tracking immigrants like "FedEx" tracks packages.

Clinton - Voted for Secure Fence Act of 2006 [passed but not fully funded] authorizing the construction of a fence between Mexico and US (HR 6061). Clinton has more recently stated that a full physical barrier does not make the most sense and would not push for the completion of this project if elected as President.

Cruz - In favor of building a wall on the Mexican-United States Border and stated he would triple the border patrol in a recently released ad campaign.

Sanders - Opposed the Secure Fence Act of 2006 and continues to oppose a physical barrier between the two countries.

Rubio - Supports building a wall between the countries with an exit/entry tracking system of all immigrants.

Trump - In favor of a border fence and states that Mexico should fund the building of the fence.

Pathway to Citizenship or Legal Status for Unauthorized Immigrants

Carson - Supports a path to a guest worker program followed by a citizenship path for undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Christie - Initially he publically supported a path to citizenship in 2010. Christie later reversed this stance before announcing his candidacy. He has since become less clear by stating he both stands by his original 2010 path to citizenship call and that it was, in fact, "garbage".

Clinton - Supports a path to citizenship.

Cruz - Not in favor of a path to citizenship. His stance on a pathway to legal status is less clear. In 2013, Cruz proposed an amendment which would provide for a path to legalization to the Senate's 'Gang of Eight' immigration bill. He now states this was only to prove a point and that he would not have supported the bill.

Sanders - Supports a pathway to citizenship.

Rubio - A previously vocal member of the Senate's Gang of Eight Immigration Bill, Rubio has scaled back on his immigration advocacy during his Presidential campaign. He states he is in favor of a path to citizenship so long as it follows a secure border and fixing the legal immigration system. The definition of both of these actions which would trigger the pathway is unclear.

Trump - Does not support a pathway to citizenship and instead calls for mass deportation.

Approve of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals* (DACA) instituted by President Obama

*The DACA program has now granted an estimated 680,000 undocumented immigrants work permits and temporary relief from the threat of deportation. The next President would have the ability to end the program just as Obama was able to create the program.

Carson - Against Expanded Deferred Action programs

Christie - Joined other governors in a legal brief challenging President Obama's expansion of the DACA program. Believes that Obama's actions in creating this program were illegal.

Clinton - Supports the executive action programs.

Cruz - Strongly opposes Deferred Action programs.

Sanders - Has spoken out in strong support of the program and states he will continue to expand it if President.

Rubio - Has stated he would revoke the program despite his past strong support for those brought to the United States at a young age.

Trump - In line with Trump's call for mass deportation, he would plan on rescinding the Executive Action for DREAMers.

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