Several potential Republican nominees for president converged on the Iowa Agricultural Summit to lay out their message and position themselves for a general election race in 2016. While several potential candidates laid out their position on illegal immigration, ranging from enforcement of existing laws to amnesty for illegal aliens, only a few spoke on legal immigration.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) started out by stating that we’ve got to finally get serious about securing the border and stopping the problem of illegal immigration.
“If we focused on the areas of bipartisan agreement, if we focused on securing the borders and improving legal immigration, we could craft legislation that would sail through Congress,” Sen. Cruz said
Former Governors Mike Huckabee and Rick Perry also spoke about securing the border with Governor Perry calling it "an imperative first step" to stopping illegal immigration. Governor Huckabee echoed the sentiment, saying that securing the border would "stem the tide" of illegal aliens crossing into the U.S.
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker doubled down on the claim that his "view has changed" on immigration and he no longer supports amnesty and instead is in favor of more border control and interior enforcement.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gave few details on his plan for immigration, but did say that he would endorse "a clear, legal, reliable guest worker program that folks in agriculture, and others, can rely upon, and that makes sense." He also stated that the program would be just "one piece of an overall approach to try to fix an immigration system that clearly does not work any longer."
Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush continued to push for amnesty for illegal aliens in order to "bring them out of the shadows" by making them pay fines, learn English, hold jobs with provisional work permits and “earn legalized status over the long haul,” without receiving government assistance.
Former New York Governor George Pataki took a similar approach as Gov. Bush on immigration. "I believe it's totally unrealistic if we think we're going to take 11 million people and send them back where they came from,'' he said. "We do have to find a way for the vast majority of them to legalize their status here.''
Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) called for a "practical solution" to overhaul the immigration system. He called for many of the items in the Gang of Eight legislation he co-authored like letting some immigrants living in the country illegally stay in the country, if they met certain conditions, like learning English and paying taxes.
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Updated: Mon, Mar 23rd 2015 @ 2:05pm EDT