The 2012 presidential election has so far been fraught with discussions and debates regarding immigration policy and potential reform. The matter of immigration policy is rather neatly defined based upon party lines with Democrats favoring reform and Republicans preferring strict enforcement of the current laws set forth by congress. However, the candidates, as savvy politicians often do, do not blindly follow the party’s doctrine.
Since President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 he has put forth an effort to support the DREAM Act, a piece of immigration reform legislation that died in congress. Recently he issued an executive order that instructed the Department of Homeland Security to use discretion to defer deportation of undocumented immigrants particularly those who came to the United States as minors. Though the president has done these things, he is still criticized as being particularly rough on immigrants; indeed, the Obama administration has deported a very significant number of immigrants during his time in office.
Mitt Romney, although not yet officially declared the Republican candidate for the presidency, he has won a majority of the delegate votes in the primaries and so is effectively the chosen candidate. Romney’s policy towards immigration has encountered some scrutiny with some speculators asking what, exactly, is his immigration policy? While governor of Massachusetts he supported or opposed certain legislation and practices related to immigration with seeming randomness. Sometimes it seems as if Romney wants to help immigrants integrate into society and at other times he insists upon their illegal status and a need to deport them.
Both candidates have been criticized for being inconsistent, but their official policies have been laid out and they stand by them. Well, at least until they are tested. Obama is looked at as having a distinct opinion about immigration, but being weak on enforcing it. Now that the election draws near skeptics question whether or not his recent proclamations of policy are genuine. Romney is seen as having no real or well-developed idea of his own immigration policy and simply makes decisions based upon which is more politically convenient at the moment. Both candidates have been criticized for being inconsistent, but their official policies have been laid out and they stand by them. Well, at least until they are tested.