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  by  Roy Beck

Fox TV chose the 10 participants in its main GOP candidate debate Thursday night based on their ranking in popularity polls.

If instead, they had chosen the 10 with the highest overall grades on NumbersUSA's Presidential Hopefuls Worker-Protection Immigration Grade Cards, here are the 10 who would have been on stage in prime time. I list them here in the order of their scoring in the 10 categories of immigration that NumbersUSA calculates as to how they would affect American wage earners (their overall grade is in parentheses).

1. Rick Santorum (A)
2, Scott Walker (B-)

3. Cruz (C+)
4. Perry (C+)
5. Trump (C+)
6. Christie (C)
7. Bush (C)
8. Huckabee (C-)
9. Carson (C-)
10. Fiorina (C-)

The good news is that most of these 10 have been gradually modifying and adding to their immigration platform in ways that make them more pro-worker by trying to limit the additions of foreign labor to the U.S. worker surplus. Most of these are still pretty mediocre overall, but they are improving the more they hear from voters.

Donald Trump's soaring popularity after tough talk about illegal immigration seems to be exerting a lot of pressure on other candidates to take immigration positions that are less designed to please corporate and media establishments and more in line with what average Americans want. Nonetheless, his stances in all 10 immigration categories rank him only 5th best overall.

See the rationale behind all the scoring, ranking and rating at: You'll see all 21 candidates. Click on any photo to see the quotes and actions from each candidate in each of the immigration categories.


Since I last wrote to you, the NumbersUSA Grade Committee has calculated these overall grade improvements after a review of the full record of all 21 Presidential Hopefuls from both Parties:

Ted Cruz: (from C) to C+
Rick Perry: (from C) to C+
Chris Christie: (from C-) to C
Jeb Bush: (from D+) to C

Many will be surprised to see Bush listed in the Top 10 after being such an aggressive leader for amnesty. In fact, we have just changed Bush's Amnesty rating from Very Harmful to ABYSMAL based on his new comments over the last week.

Nonetheless, Bush's detailed policy statements last week on matters other than amnesty earned him an improvement in ratings in four categories:

Border category: (from Unhelpful) to VERY GOOD
E-Verify category: (from 1st Steps) to VERY GOOD
Entry/Exit category: (from 1st Steps) to VERY GOOD
Interior Enforcement category: (from Mixed) to 1st STEPS


Ben Carson joined Bush in declaring his high-priority commitment to giving work permits to millions of illegal aliens so they can quickly compete with American workers for any job. We demoted his Amnesty rating from Very Harmful to ABYSMAL.

Martin O'Malley proclaimed his insistence that children of tourists, visa-overstayers and illegal border crossers should be made automatic U.S. citizens, prompting our demotion of his birthright citizenship rating (from No Action) to ABYSMAL.

Other changes in ratings were incremental improvement:

Bernie Sanders in the Unfair Work Visas category (from Mixed) to 1st STEPS.

Bobby Jindal in the Interior Enforcement category (from Good) to VERY GOOD. And in the Amnesty category (from Very Harmful) to just HARMFUL.

Carly Fiorina in the Interior Enforcement category (from No Action) to 1st STEPS. And in the Entry/Exit category (from No Action ) to 1st STEPS.


21. O'Malley (F-)
20. Biden (F-)
19. Sanders (F-)
18. Chafee (F)
17. Clinton (F)
16. Graham (F)
15. Rubio (D)
14. Kasich (D)
13. Webb (D+)
12. Paul (D+)

11. Jindal (C-)

If you like any of these candidates for various reasons other than immigration, be sure to click on their photos on our Grade Card page and find the ways to contact them and educate them on how they can advocate a worker-friendly immigration policy -- and improve their grade.

After the first debates, we will be re-evaluating all the grades.

ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

Elections 2016

Updated: Fri, Feb 19th 2016 @ 10:33am EST

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