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Immigration in the 2012 Campaign Update

December 2, 2011, 4:50 pm | Posted by Casey Schoeneberger

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Looking back over the past several months, it’s not easy to tell where the GOP Presidential candidates stand on immigration reform – one of the most critical social justice issues facing America and people of faith.

Back in October, Herman Cain touted an electric fence as a solution to preventing undocumented immigrants from crossing the border. After facing intense criticism over his stance, Cain contended he was only joking.

At November’s CNN National Security Debate, Newt Gingrich appeared to take a political risk by endorsing “humane treatment” for undocumented immigrants already residing in the United States. But a closer look reveals that the “citizen juries” he recommends are actually neither that humane or courageous.

Even so, Newt’s proposal prompted attacks of “amnesty” from GOP rivals. Surprisingly, the loudest attack came coming from Romney, who previously supported a similar plan for undocumented immigrants already living in the U.S.

If backtracking on his stance isn’t confusing enough for the American public, Romney also refuses to answer whether he would deport immigrants already living here.

Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Perry, after facing intense conservative backlash for calling opponents of his policy letting undocumented high school students qualify for in-state tuition “heartless“, is campaigning with radical anti-immigrant sheriff Joe Arpaio. Perry is now calling for the deportation of all undocumented immigrants (as is Rep. Michelle Bachmann) — a move that would undoubtedly cost the American economy millions- if not billions- in lost wages and productivity.

These kinds of devastating consequences are already visible in Arizona, Alabama and Georgia, states whose anti-immigrant policies demonstrate the high economic costs that businesses and local governments are incurring by effectively eliminating their immigrant population.

Hopefully, whichever candidate wins the Republican nomination will recognize that the general population rejects these extreme policies and supports just, comprehensive immigration reform proposals.

Photo Credit: IowaPolitics.com, Flickr

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