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Ralph Nader on Immigration

2004 Reform nominee; 2000 Green Candidate for President


Donít criminalize the border; but no open border either

Q. What is your stance on numeric caps for legal immigration and/or quotas for specific countries for immigration, and whether there should be amnesties for illegal immigrants?

A. The first stage for our immigration policy is stop supporting oligarchs, dictatorships, authoritarian regimes that drive people to leave their native lands out of economic desperation or political repression. Lots of people from Mexico and Central America would now be in those countries, not in this country, if they had a decent chance in a democratic society to have an adequate standard of living. We cannot have open borders. Thatís a totally absurd proposition. It would depress wages here enormously, and tens of millions of people from all levels, including scientists and workers, would be pouring into this country. One way is to provide work permits for people who come in and do work for short periods of time that Americans donít want to do instead of criminalizing the border.

Source: John Ellis, The Fresno (CA) Bee Oct 22, 2000

Guest workers OK, with labor standards

Q. Do you support a guest worker program?

A. Yes, under work permits, so everything is above board. So they are not exploited. Right now, employers have the best of both worlds. They exploit workers, they make huge profits, and they escape prosecution. Farm labor, whether American or unlawful immigrants, donít have the protection under labor laws that industrial workers have. The idea is to bring all farm labor under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Source: John Ellis, The Fresno (CA) Bee Oct 22, 2000

Support democracy abroad so fewer will immigrate

Q: Describe your immigration policy.

A: We need work permits for people who come in this country and do work, as in farm areas, instead of criminalizing the process. Second, a foreign policy that sides with workers and peasants for a change in democracy, instead of dictatorships and oligarchies, will reduce enormously the pressure of people under economic pressure and political repression from coming across the border. Most people donít want to leave their native land. But thereís another immigration issue, which is the brain drain. Silicon Valley, trying to get more computer specialists, and others trying to get physicians from other countries in the Third World that desperately need them. Weíve got to stop being a hog for the skilled people abroad. Thereís an African-American group that just started protesting Silicon Valleyís H-1B visa, pressure on Congress, saying there are African-Americans who are trained or could be trained to meet these jobs in the computer industry.

Source: Nader-Buchanan debate on ĎMeet the Pressí Oct 1, 2000

Immigrants donít come for welfare; restore safety net

So-called welfare reform at the federal level has changed national policy from a statutory mandate to the states for child sustenance to a mandate for its limitation. Most severely affected are children of legal immigrants. The evidence is overwhelming that immigrants do not come to California for welfare. In fact, few ever claim benefits in the first one, two or three years after arrival. But, those children whose parents do fall on hard times are often unprotected.
Source: Statement on Child Poverty Jun 26, 2000

Donít blame immigrants for social and economic problems

Source: Green Party Platform, as ratified at the National Convention Jun 25, 2000

Other candidates on Immigration: Ralph Nader on other issues:
George W. Bush
Dick Cheney
John Edwards
John Kerry

Third Party Candidates:
Michael Baradnik
Peter Camejo
David Cobb
Ralph Nader
Michael Peroutka

Democratic Primaries:
Carol Moseley Braun
Wesley Clark
Howard Dean
Dick Gephardt
Bob Graham
Dennis Kucinich
Joe Lieberman
Al Sharpton
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Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
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Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty
Adv: Avi Green for State Rep Middlesex 26, Somerville & Cambridge Massachusetts