Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should state and local law enforcement be empowered to enforce federal immigration laws?
Virgil Goode, former US Representative (R-VA), stated the following on his campaign website page "The Issues," available at www.goodeforpresident2012.com (accessed May 8, 2012):
"As President, I would immediately direct the Attorney General to support and NOT oppose the efforts of Arizona, Alabama and others to deal with the illegal problem in the states." May 14, 2012 Virgil Goode
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following in his article "States' Rights Should Be Encouraged, Not Punished," available at www.tenthamendmentcenter.com (accessed May 10, 2012):
"I have said that I would not have signed the Arizona immigration law, because I’m concerned it could lead to racial profiling. But, having served as governor of another border state, New Mexico, I empathize with Arizona’s frustration, and absolutely support the prerogative of that state’s officials to act...
Certainly, securing our border and managing the flow of people across that border is an appropriate federal role – consistent with the Constitution. But, where is it written in the founding documents that a state doesn’t have the right to enact its own laws and policies relating to immigrants, both legal and illegal, who choose to enter and reside in that state?
I would suggest that just the opposite is true. Every state is different, and is presented with its own challenges and opportunities related to immigration – and countless other issues. Rather than trying, as the Obama administration is doing, to stop Arizona from implementing its own approach, we should be encouraging the states to be the policy laboratories they were intended to be in our federal system." May 10, 2012 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, made the following statement on June 3, 2010 during an interview with Larry King on CNN's Larry King Live, available at www.transcripts.cnn.com:
"I think this (law) [Arizona's SB 1070] puts American citizens who look Hispanic, are Hispanic, potentially in an unfair situation. And more importantly, it creates the prospect of 50 different laws, in 50 different states, when it comes to immigration. This is a federal job. What we have to do is take on that federal responsibility by working with border states in border security. And I told Governor Brewer that we've already put more resources into border security than we ever have. We've got more border guards in Arizona than we ever have. We just made the decision to put in additional National Guard.
But without comprehensive immigration reform, which is congress's responsibility, we are not gonna solve this problem." June 3, 2010 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following during the Feb. 22, 2012 Republican presidential candidate debate in Mesa, AZ, sponsored by CNN and the Republican Party of Arizona, available at www.presidency.ucsb.edu:
"I enabled our state police to enforce illegal immigration laws...
The right course for America is to drop these lawsuits against Arizona and other states that are trying to do the job Barack Obama isn't doing. And I will drop those lawsuits on day one... You do that, and just as Arizona is finding out, you can stop illegal immigration." Feb. 22, 2012 Mitt Romney
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, released the following statement on Dec. 19, 2011 "Statement on International Migrants Day," available at www.jillstein.org:
"The human cost of this escalating war on immigrants includes families torn apart and children emotionally traumatized, the expansion of racial profiling in policing, and the reinforcement of a caste system in which undocumented workers form the most vulnerable and exploitable level in the labor force.
We must end the systemic practice of detention and deportation of immigrant women, men, and children. We must reverse the militarization of our borders and the federalization of our local police." Dec. 19, 2011 Jill Stein
[Editor's Note: In addition to the Dec. 19, 2011 statement above, Jill Stein also made the following Con statement in a Project Vote Smart "Political Courage Test," available at www.votesmart.org (accessed July 13, 2012). When asked, "Do you support the enforcement of federal immigration law by state and local police?," Jill Stein responded "No."]
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following in his 2011 book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect Our Freedom:
“[I]f a rancher on our border wants to stop trespassers on his land, he is forbidden to do so. The Feds don’t even allow the state law enforcement officers to interfere! This, they argue, could lead to violence if appropriate use of force is not used...
My humble suggestions on what to do follow...
Enforce the laws now on the books with more border guards; permit states to enforce the laws; allow landowners to provide private property security assistance, just as we do every day throughout the United States, and to work with Federal Border Control authorities.” 2011 Ron Paul