Monday, August 4, 2008

McCain still refusing to clarify position on immigration

With a little under 100 days left in the campaign, John McCain has yet to tell the American people exactly where he stands on the volatile issue of immigration and immigration reform.

Since securing his party's nomination back in March, McCain has toned down some of the more strident rhetoric that marked his noticeable shift towards the right on the issue during the primary contests, yet he still remains firmly planted on the fence when it comes to discussing the specifics of what his presidency would mean in terms of immigration reform.

According to the winds of political expediency, or the particular interest group he's speaking to on any given day, he's vacillated between claiming himself a champion for comprehensive reform on one hand to disavowing any connection to his previous legislative attempts to repair our nation's broken immigration system on the other.

This has left those on both sides of this thorny debate scratching their heads, wondering where the legendary "straight talker" stands on this vital issue.

While taking every opportunity to meet with Latino leaders to assure them of his commitment to "all God's children" and an immigration policy that reflects our tradition of being a "nation of immigrants", he has yet to explain in any meaningful way what the specifics of a McCain immigration policy would look like.

And for good reason …. It would force him to finally explain to both his anti-immigrant Republican base, and the general public that favors comprehensive reform, exactly where he stands on the issue …risking alienating one of those constituencies.

In June, the editors of The Sanctuary, a multi-ethnic community of on-line activists concerned about migrant rights, human-rights, and immigration reform, asked the major presidential candidates to respond to a detailed questionnaire concerning their positions on the specific aspects of immigration policy.

After more than a month, the Obama campaign responded with a detailed response to the lengthy survey …The McCain campaign has remained mum. …Well not exactly mum:

"The first phone call I placed was answered cordially. I was told that someone would get back to me. I never heard back from anyone," said The Sanctuary editor Kety Esquivel of CrossLeft.org who has appeared on CNN to discuss the questionnaire. "The second time I called, the person I was speaking with hung up and the third time I called the line was disconnected."


Obviously McCain wants to stonewall as long as possible before being held accountable for his various positions on this issue.

While those of us on the left, or representing the broader Latino community, deserve to know McCain's real stance on immigration prior to Election Day, so too do those on the opposite side of this debate. He can no longer continue to talk out of one side of his mouth to one important constituency while saying, or implying, the opposite position to another.

In this momentous election season, marked by a new kind of politics that shuns the old ways of the past and gives hope for a truly meaningful national dialogue and debate on the great issues of the day, it's unfortunate to see that Mr. McCain is still mired down old political games of the past, and refuses to live up to his legendary position as a maverick and supply the American people with a healthy dose of "straight talk" when it comes to immigration reform.


MORE FROM THE SANCTUARYSPHERE


Deadline passes and McCain campaign refuses to answer Latino bloggers' questionnaire- From Latina Lista

Official Press Release From The Sanctuary

Missing McCain - No Answer To The Sanctuary’s Questionnaire - American Humanity

Obama Campaign Responds to Quesionnaire on Immigration. McCain Camp Can't be Bothered - From Vivir Latino

Obama Campaign RespondsS To Survey On Immigration Reform/Public Policy, McCain Campaign Silent - From CrossLeft

Obama Responds to Immigration Policy Questions, McCain Avoids Them - From Standing Firm

Sanctuary Press Release — Obama Answers Questionnaire, McCain Ducks - From Zuky

McCain Neglects the Pro-Migrant Blogosphere - From Citizen Orange

McCain Won’t Even Feign Concern for Latino Community - From The Unapologetic Mexican

Obama Campaign Responds To Immigration Reform Survey While McCain Campaign Remains Silent - From ¡Para Justicia y Libertad!




View complete survey after the fold

CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE

Name:
Party Affiliation:
Address:
Home Phone:
Campaign Phone Office:
Office Sought/Opponents in:
If you are a State candidate, please indicate your State Registration Number:

The Sanctuary is a multi-issue organization working in the service of human rights, human reasoning and progressive discussion. Therefore it is critical for us to understand your position on the following issues. Please give specific answers to the questions and answer them as thoroughly as possible. Please type your answers. Use additional sheets as necessary.

1. Could you please articulate what you think are the most pressing issues for the U.S. immigrant community, at home AND abroad, and how you would hope to address those issues as President?

2. Do you support comprehensive immigration reform?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

3. What policy conditions would comprehensive immigration reform have to meet in order for you to support it? Please be specific.

4. Do you support the establishment of an expanded guest worker program?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

5. Do you support the expansion and construction of a virtual border along the U.S./Mexico border?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

6. Do you support the switch from family based immigration standards to the merit based system put forth in the last round of Senate CIR?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

7. Do you support the "touchback" requirements of previous comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) legislation that would require undocumented immigrants to return to their countries of origin in order to normalize their status?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

8. Would you support the addition of funding for stricter enforcement of general labor standards such as wage and hour or safety regulations as
part of CIR legislation?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

9. Would you support an increase in the cap of low-skilled
employment-based green cards issued each year from it's current level of
5000?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

10. Would you favor raising the 65,000 cap on high-skilled H-1B temporary work visas, in light of the fact that in the last two years, H-1B visas were quickly filled in a matter of days?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

11a. If so, would you also favor limiting the number of H-1B professionals a company can hire?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

11b. If so, would you also favor limiting the number of H-1B professionals employment brokers are allowed to recruit?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

11 c. If so, would you favor including meaningful prevailing wage requirements keyed to the Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act?

Yes No

Please explain

12. Do you have a position on providing materials concerning health care and public benefits programs in languages other than English?
Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

13. Do you support lifetime eligibility for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for disabled and/or elderly refugees and asylees who are eligible for SSI except for a lack of U.S. citizenship?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position

14. What are your feelings on immigrant detention?

15. Do you support family detention centers?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

16. Do you support private companies profiting off of immigrant detention?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

17. Do you support the Detainee Basic Medical Care Act, the bill that would require the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to develop procedures to ensure adequate medical care for all detainees held by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

18. Do you support the Uniting American Families Act, a bill that would amend the Immigration and Nationality Act to allow permanent partners of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, including same-sex partners, to obtain permanent residency?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

19. Do you support the community service requirement of previous DREAM Act legislation that would grant provisional (conditional) legal residency to immigrant graduates who perform 910 hours of volunteer community service?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

20. Would you support an immediate moratorium on community and work site raids by ICE?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

21. Do you approve of ICE's use of excessive force to conduct immigration raids as seen recently in Postiville, Iowa?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

22. Do you support the Families First Immigration Enforcement Act, the bill that would provide for safe and humane policies and procedures pertaining to the arrest, detention, and processing of aliens in immigration enforcement operations?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

23. Would you support the incorporation of requirements that would tie both future economic aid and trade agreements to substantive benchmarks in sender nations that would alleviate some of the economic and humanitarian conditions that foster continued migration?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

24. Would you renegotiate the last phase of NAFTA that just went into effect that lifts restrictions on more US agricultural products, particularly poultry, imported into Mexico?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

25. Do you support cancelling or renegotiating NAFTA?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

26. Do you support providing subsidies for corn-based ethanol?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

27. Do you support the farm bill, more specifically the agricultural subsidies it contains?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

28. Do you support a restructuring of trade-distorting US farm subsidies?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

29. Do you support a significant shift in subsidies to help farmers adopt conservation and renewable energy practices on farms?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

30. Do you support Plan Colombia (the Plan that was meant to combat the principal threat to the nation's political and economic elite: the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)) even though after closer examination of Plan Colombia, it has been revealed that the Plan states that public companies and banks are to be privatized leading to massive layoffs and further increasing unemployment at a time when cutbacks in government spending has removed any vestiges of providing a social safety net for those affected?
Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

31. Do you support Plan Mexico, which has been considered to be a duplicated of Plan Colombia, which has entrenched violence and corruption in Colombia while failing to reduce drug flow?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

32. Do you support canceling or renegotiating Plan Mexico?

Yes No

Please explain.

How long have you held this position?

33. What would you do to address the racist and nativist rhetoric that is becoming mainstreamed and that is tied to a rising crime wave fueled by the same sentiment?

34. What are you going to do to take a more global approach to the
issue of migration?

35. What would you do to provide opportunities in the countries that
migrants are fleeing from? Please be specific.

36. How do you address the overwhelming amount of money the U.S. federal government spends on defense and military expenditures, at home and abroad, and would you see to it that less money is spent on
militarization and more money is spent on social programs?

37. What leadership have you taken on immigration issues, including but not limited to the issues addressed in this questionnaire?

38. On what immigration issues will you take leadership?

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