Before The Final Debate Tonight: Important Questions On Immigration Reform

As it has throughout the campaign (although not in the first two debates), immigration reform is poised to take centerstage in the final Presidential Debate tonight between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

Immigration policy has been — to put it mildly — a clear contrast between Secretary Clinton and Mr. Trump. While this election is a referendum on very different visions for immigration policy, there remain a number of unanswered questions for both candidates that are important for voters heading to the polls.

During the general election, support for commonsense immigration reform that modernizes the legal visa system and pairs increased security provisions with a process where undocumented immigrants can earn legal status has risen to historical levels of support with all voters — and with Republicans.

Below are a set of questions that we believe are worth consideration tonight.

  1. Sophie Cruz, is an American citizen and the 6 year old daughter of undocumented immigrants. She became a well-known champion for commonsense immigration reform after meeting Pope Francis during his visit to the United States. Here’s her question for the Presidential candidates: If you deport my parents, what happens to me? I am 6 years old and an American citizen. I have a 3 year old sister who is also an American. My heart is very sad, because I’m scared that ICE is going to deport my undocumented mommy and daddy.
  2. Our legal immigration system is broken and outdated, it has not been updated for five decades, long before the advent of the internet. Economists project our current system is costing our economy billions in lost revenue and productivity; while high skilled industries are losing talented engineers and innovators to other countries. What would you do to update and modernize our legal visa system to allow the United States to fully benefit from the entrepreneurial spirit that immigrants provide?
  3. There are 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States, and millions more who are U.S. citizens and family members. Deporting all 11 million would cost between $400 to $620 billion in new government spending. The same study estimates that the resulting depletion of the workforce would reduce production in the U.S. by $1.6 trillion over twenty years; while another study put the lost productivity closer to $4.7 trillion. By all accounts, immigrants are integral to the U.S. economy. What economically feasible solution would you propose to deal with the 11 million undocumented immigrants?
  4. Secretary Clinton, you have stated that you would like to see immigration reform legislation introduced within the first 100 days of your Administration; but neither Presidents Obama or Bush had much success working with Congress to pass a reform plan. How will you work with Congress to achieve your goals on immigration?
  5. The 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states, “all persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States.” This clause is commonly known as “birthright citizenship” and has been the accepted legal doctrine for over a century. Mr. Trump, you told FOX’s Bill O’Reilly that you did not believe people born in the United States were U.S. citizens, do you still hold this view? If so, how would you revoke citizenship from an American and where would you deport them to if the United States is the place of their birth, the only country they have known?
  6. There are 4.5 million U.S. citizen children with at least one undocumented parent living in the United States. For many, the discussion around those here illegally often starts and stops with border security and law enforcement. Mr. Trump, you have made the promise of removing 11 million undocumented immigrants central to your campaign, while building a physical wall along the southern border. Where would this policy leave U.S. citizen children with parents that are deported, without a pathway for re-entry?