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Candidate Positions on Immigration

Read the full responses from candidates below. “Answer option” is the choice given in the quiz, and “Candidate’s position” shows the candidate’s response to MPR News.

Question: What is your stance on immigration?
Dean BarkleyDean Barkley ANSWER OPTION: We need to return to the immigration policy that was practiced from 1944 until 1964, which allowed Mexican labor to enter our country to seek employment. They would then be paying taxes and would be able to freely go to and from Mexico without being criminals. Furthermore, I would substantially increase the fines and penalties imposed on businesses that employ illegal aliens.

Norm ColemanNorm Coleman ANSWER OPTION: I strongly oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. I believe that immigrants must undergo background checks, demonstrate proof of employment, possess English proficiency and an understanding of civics, and pay a monetary penalty if they entered illegally. I believe that improving our border enforcement capabilities must be central to any immigration reform legislation.
CANDIDATE'S POSITION: In a letter to a constituent published online, Sen. Coleman wrote, "I believe the current immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed. I look forward to voting for a bill which will provide for real border security, will eliminate the lure of continued job opportunities for illegal immigrants, and will provide a program that would have helped identify illegal immigrants in this country with their continued presence conditioned on learning English, paying taxes and being employed...I believe that improving our border enforcement capabilities must be central to any immigration reform legislation. Our unprotected borders are unacceptable and represent a crisis which must be dealt with decisively and without delay...I strongly oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants. Any legalized status for people already here must not be a blank check that will encourage more people to enter this country illegally. In order to be here, I believe that immigrants must undergo background checks, demonstrate proof of employment, possess English proficiency and an understanding of civics, and pay a monetary penalty if they entered illegally. (More Info)

Al FrankenAl Franken ANSWER OPTION: I believe illegal immigrants should be put on a slow-track path to citizenship if they have been working, paying taxes, learning to speak English and pay a nominal fine.
CANDIDATE'S POSITION: In a written statement to MPR Franken said, "I favor comprehensive immigration reform. Our country has a long tradition of welcoming new Americans, and I think we should work to continue that tradition while still making sure that we protect Minnesota's workers. The best way to deal with the issue of illegal immigration is to enforce the law at the worksite. No matter how high a wall you build, people will get over it, or under it, if there are jobs on the other side. That means actually punishing employers who flaunt the law. And that means creating a worker identification card that is absolutely tamper-proof. "I don't believe in deporting the 10-12 million immigrants who came here illegally. That would be impractical, to say the least. I favor putting them on a track to citizenship provided that they've been working, have paid their taxes, haven't committed any crimes since coming here, are speaking English (or learning to), and pay a nominal fine. This would be a slow track, no one who came here illegally should be put ahead of anyone who has been waiting to get in legally. "I support guest worker programs for seasonal jobs. Last year, we saw crops go un-harvested in the Northwest because of the stalemate on immigration reform. But I am leery of guest worker programs that would create a permanent underclass of exploited workers or drive down the wages of American workers." (More Info)