Chris Chmielenski's Picture

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  by  Chris Chmielenski

On Wednesday night, the GOP Presidential Hopefuls head to Michigan for the 10th debate of the primary season. It's been a while since we've seen the Hopefuls on the national stage, but tonight's debate is the first of three debates to be held before Thanksgiving. With tonight's debate hosted on CNBC, the main theme will be the economy. For the most part, the Hopefuls have left immigration out of their economic/jobs talking points.

Our ratings of the Presidential Hopefuls haven't changed much over the past few months. All the GOP Hopefuls have maintained their positions on illegal immigration, but no one has yet stood out on the issue of legal immigration. October's job numbers were a little better than past months, but even the 80,000 jobs created last month are far behind the 125,000 work permits issued to new foreign workers each month by the federal government.

Just last week, we learned of a situation in Oregon where forestry contractors used stimulus money to hire foreign workers over unemployed Americans. The story offers both the GOP Hopefuls and Pres. Obama a perfect example of how our  immigration system can negatively impact Americans during times of high unemployment. So far, Pres. Obama has been silent on the issue.

Michigan has the nation's third highest unemployment rate at 11.1%. Tonight's debate would be a great time for the GOP Hopefuls to bring up the issue of legal immigration.

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8:19pm -- Still no questions about immigration, but Rep. Bachmann works immigration into her first question. She has asked if high taxes are hindering the country's ability to recover from the recession. After she answered the question, she listed off a list of other issues that need to be addressed for America to recover, including immigration.

8:39pm - We've reached the first commercial break, and we're still waiting for questions dealing with immigration. 

9:07pm - We're now into our second commercial break, and still no mention of immigration. CNBC is keeping the debate's focus on issues that solely deal with financial matters. 

9:10pm - While the debate hasn't generated much discussion on immigration, those following the debate via Twitter have been talking some about immigration. When the debate shifted to the housing market, the bill offered by Senators Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) that gives visas to foreign nationals who buy a house in the U.S. came up. While NumbersUSA stays away from the housing debate, giving visas to foreign nationals who buy a house isn't a good idea. In addition to a host of national security issues the plan would create, foreign nationals who take advantage of the plan would be able to lay the groundwork for permanent residency in the U.S.

9:51pm - After almost a two-hour debate, there were no questions on immigration. There are two more debates left in November, including Saturday night in Spartanburg, S.C. hosted by CBS. However, both the South Carolina debate and the following debate hosted by the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. will focus on foreign policy. The next opportunity to hear the Hopefuls talk about immigration may not come until December 1 when they debate in Arizona.

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CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content and Activism for NumbersUSA

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2012 Elections
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