Notes on Obama's Immigration Debate Talk

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: Feb 21, 2008 8:40 PM
Obama is discussing immigration now in the debate.  Here's my notes on what he's saying below. Highlights include his thoughts that immigration application fees are "discriminatory."

-Obama says immigration rhetoric needs to be "toned down" because it has had "an undertone that has been ugly." Obama says "we've seen hate crime skyrocket in the wake of the immigration debate."

-Obama says the US should "crack down on employers taking advantage of undocumented workers" but "in a way that doesn’t lead to people with Spanish surnames being discriminated against, so there has to be a safeguard there."

-Obama says the US should "require undocumented workers who are provided a pathway to citizenship to not only learn English, pay back taxes and pay a significant fine, but also they should be going to the back of the line so they are not getting citizenship before those who have applied legally."

-Obama says it's important to decrease the backlog of applicants and lower application fees because "we keep on increasing the fees so if you've got a hardworking immigrant family, they've got to hire a laywer,  they’ve got to pay thousands of dollars in fees and they just can’t afford it and it’s discriminatory."

-Obama says "something we can do immediately that think is very important is pass the DREAM Act, which allows children who no fault of their own are here, but have essentially grown up as Americans, allow them the opportunity for higher education. I do not want two classes of citizens in this country."

Update: Clinton is now railing against the border fence, describing it as an "absurdity:" She says she's been dealing with the Bush administration's "absurdities" in trying to secure New York's border with Canada. According to Clinton, "passports and other kinds of burdens [like fencing] are separating people with families, interfering with business and commerce, the movement of goods and people."