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Chris Dodd on Immigration

Democratic Sr Senator (CT)


Hold employers accountable for knowingly hiring illegals

Q: What would you want employers to do when hiring and a workers documents do not appear to be in order?

A: I think youíve got an obligation here to go beyond that if you have any doubts or questions here. People who knowingly hire undocumented workers, I think, need to be held accountable to a far higher degree of penalty, civil and possibly criminal, if in fact itís widespread, because these are the things that are going to slow down the 400,000 to 500,000 people who come here each year.

Source: 2007 Democratic radio debate on NPR Dec 4, 2007

Oppose granting driverís licenses to illegal immigrants

Q: In the absence of comprehensive immigration reform, do you support driverís licenses for illegal immigrants?

A: No, driversí licenses are the wrong thing to be doing, in terms of attracting people to come here as undocumented.

Source: 2007 Democratic debate in Las Vegas, Nevada Nov 15, 2007

Driverís licenses ought not be given to illegal immigrants

We need to have people come forward. The idea that weíre going to extend this privilege here of a driverís license I think is troublesome. We need to deal with security on our borders. We need to deal with the attraction that draws people here. We need to deal fairly with those who are here. But this is a privilege. Talk about health care, I have a different opinion. That affects the public health of all of us. But a license is a privilege, and that ought not to be extended, in my view.
Source: 2007 Democratic debate at Drexel University Oct 30, 2007

Teach more Spanish, but not as a second national language

Q: Would you be willing to promote Spanish as a second national language of the US?

A: Certainly [we should be] promoting greater understanding in language in this country. Itís a source of some collective embarrassment that we Americans donít speak enough languages, that we always think the rest of the world has to understand English. Iím proud of the fact that [I speak Spanish]. I understand that we need to encourage more language training in the country. [However], I believe that the common language of our country is English, but that we ought to encourage and support those who are not English speakers to be able to enjoy the benefits and opportunities of these country.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish Sep 9, 2007

Mexico is a neighbor and ally, but supported border wall

Q: None of the 9/11 terrorists entered the US through the Mexican border. Why build a wall there in the name of national security? You voted in favor of the border wall. Why on the Mexican border and not on the Canadian border?

A: Obviously, any debate about immigration has to include security here. The American people feel strongly about it. But I would argue that while there may be a place periodically to have security along that border that include some fence, itís also important that we understand the underlying reason why people emigrate, and weíre not focusing enough attention on that. We need to be dealing with our neighbor, Mexico, far more cooperatively. For 26 years, Iíve co-chaired the interparliamentary meeting with Mexico. This is an ally, this is a friend, this is a neighbor. We need to have trading agreements and economic agreements that can lift people up, with working conditions that would allow them to live in their countries not have to emigrate to this country.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate on Univision in Spanish Sep 9, 2007

Sanctuary cities ok to deal with millions here already

Q: Would you allow ďsanctuary citiesĒ to ignore the federal law and provide sanctuary to these immigrants?

A: [The immigration problem] was a failure of leadership again at the national level. We had an opportunity to draft an immigration law here that would have put us on the right track. We need to have a far better system to deal with the 12 to 20 million who are here illegally. If it means temporarily engaging in a sanctuary protection here, then so be it if that protects our country.

Source: 2007 Democratic primary debate at Dartmouth College Sep 6, 2007

More language training is needed in a global economy

We need to be encouraging more language training in our country. At the time of the 9/11 attacks here, we had advertisements running in national newspapers for anybody who could speak Arabic here. We have too few of our people in this country that can understand second languages. This is the 21st century. This is a global economy. We need to encourage more diversity in that. Certainly we have a national language here.
Source: 2007 Dem. debate at Saint Anselm College Jun 3, 2007

Voted YES on continuing federal funds for declared "sanctuary cities".

CONGRESSIONAL SUMMARY: To create a reserve fund to ensure that Federal assistance does not go to sanctuary cities that ignore the immigration laws of the United States and create safe havens for illegal aliens and potential terrorists. This vote is a motion to table the amendment; voting YES would kill the amendment.

SUPPORTER'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING NO ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. VITTER: There are so-called sanctuary cities which establish as an official policy of their jurisdiction: We are not going to cooperate with Federal immigration enforcement officials. That is wrong. What is more, it is completely contrary to Federal immigration law. My amendment says: We are going to put some consequence to that defiance of Federal law. We are not going to give them COPS funds. We are going to send those funds, instead, to all of those other jurisdictions which abide by Federal law.OPPONENT'S ARGUMENT FOR VOTING YES ON TABLING MOTION:Sen. DURBIN: There are sanctuary cities in about 23 different States across America. What the Vitter amendment will do is to take away the COPS funding from those cities. Police departments will tell you they need the cooperation of everyone to solve crimes and stop crime. If you create fear in the minds of those who are here in an undocumented status that any cooperation with the police will result in their arrest, they will not cooperate and criminals will go free. Let's not use the COPS Program as some sort of threat. If you want to deal with immigration, deal with it responsibly in a comprehensive way. SUPPORTER'S RESPONSE:Sen. VITTER: If folks feel that way, they should come to Congress and change Federal law, not simply defy Federal law. This is another amnesty vote. Are we going to give folks in sanctuary cities amnesty for defying Federal law and refusing to cooperate with Federal immigration officials? LEGISLATIVE OUTCOME:Motion to Table Agreed to, 58-40

Reference: Bill Table S.Amdt.4309 to S.Con.Res ; vote number 08-S069 on Mar 13, 2008

Voted YES on comprehensive immigration reform.

    Establishes specified benchmarks which must be met before the guest worker and legalization programs may be initiated:
  1. operational control of the border with Mexico;
  2. Border Patrol increases;
  3. border barriers, including vehicle barriers, fencing, radar, and aerial vehicles;
  4. detention capacity for illegal aliens apprehended crossing the US-Mexico border;
  5. workplace enforcement, including an electronic employment verification system; and
  6. Z-visa alien processing.

Proponents recommend voting YES because:

If we do not legislate now, we will not legislate later this year when our calendar is crowded with Iraq and appropriations bills. We are then an election year, and it will be pushed over to 2009. Circumstances will not be better then, they will be worse.

A vote against cloture is a vote to kill the bill. A Senator may vote for cloture and then express himself in opposition to the bill by voting against the bill.

Opponents recommend voting NO because:

If this bill becomes law, we will see only a 13% reduction in illegal immigration into America, and in the next 20 years we will have another 8.7 million illegals in our country. How can that be reformed? I submit this would be a disaster.

The Congressional telephone systems have shut down because of the mass phone calls Congress is receiving. A decent respect for the views of the American people says let's stop here now. Let's go back to the drawing board and come up with a bill that will work.

The American people get it, and they do have common sense and wisdom on this issue. They know repeating the fundamental mistakes of the 1986 bill, joining a big amnesty with inadequate enforcement, will cause the problem to grow and not diminish. They know promising enforcement after 30 years of broken promises isn't good enough. They know the so-called trigger is a joke because if the trigger is never pulled, the Z visas, the amnesty happens forever.

Reference: McCain-Kennedy Immigration Reform Bill; Bill S.1639 ; vote number 2007-235 on Jun 28, 2007

Voted YES on building a fence along the Mexican border.

Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:
  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of Within 18 months, achieves operational control over U.S. land and maritime borders, including:

  1. systematic border surveillance through more effective use of personnel and technology; and
  2. physical infrastructure enhancements to prevent unlawful border entry
Defines "operational control" as the prevention of all unlawful U.S. entries, including entries by terrorists, other unlawful aliens, narcotics, and other contraband.

Proponents support voting YES because:

It is obvious there is no more defining issue in our Nation today than stopping illegal immigration. The most basic obligation of any government is to secure the Nation's borders. One issue in which there appears to be a consensus between the Senate and the House is on the issue of building a secure fence. So rather than wait until comprehensive legislation is enacted, we should move forward on targeted legislation which is effective and meaningful. The legislation today provides over 700 miles of

Reference: Secure Fence Act; Bill H R 6061 ; vote number 2006-262 on Sep 29, 2006

Voted YES on establishing a Guest Worker program.

Reference: Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act; Bill S. 2611 ; vote number 2006-157 on May 25, 2006

Voted YES on allowing illegal aliens to participate in Social Security.

Voting YEA would table (kill) the proposed amendment to prohibit illegal immigrants from receiving Social Security benefits. Voting NAY supports that prohibition, while voting YEA supports immigrants participating in Social Security. Text of amendment:
To reduce document fraud, prevent identity theft, and preserve the integrity of the Social Security system, by ensuring that persons who receive an adjustment of status under this bill are not able to receive Social Security benefits as a result of unlawful activity.
Reference: Preclusion of Social Security Credits; Bill S.Amdt.3985 to S.2611 ; vote number 2006-130 on May 18, 2006

Voted YES on giving Guest Workers a path to citizenship.

This amendment to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act would prohibit H-2C nonimmigrants ("Guest Workers") from adjusting to lawful permanent resident status. Voting YEA on the motion to table (which would kill the amendment) indicates supporting a path to citizenship for guest workers. Voting NAY on the motion indicates opposing any path to citizenship. The amendment says:
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Act, an alien having nonimmigrant status is ineligible for and may not apply for adjustment of status.''
Reference: Kyl Amendment to Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act; Bill S.Amdt.3969 to S.2611 ; vote number 2006-135 on May 18, 2006

Voted NO on allowing more foreign workers into the US for farm work.

Vote to create a national registry containing names of U.S. workers who want to perform temporary or seasonal agricultural work, and to require the Attorney General to allow more foreign workers into the U.S. for farm work under H-2A visas.
Reference: Bill S.2260 ; vote number 1998-233 on Jul 23, 1998

Voted YES on visas for skilled workers.

This bill expanded the Visa program for skilled workers.
Status: Bill Passed Y)78; N)20; NV)2
Reference: The American Competitiveness Act; Bill S. 1723 ; vote number 1998-141 on May 18, 1998

Voted NO on limit welfare for immigrants.

This amendment would have restored food stamp benefits to the children of legal immigrants
Status: Motion to Table Agreed to Y)59; N)41
Reference: Motion to table Kennedy Amdt #429; Bill S.947 ; vote number 1997-111 on Jun 24, 1997

Rated 8% by USBC, indicating an open-border stance.

Dodd scores 8% by USBC on immigration issues

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 USBC scores as follows:

About USBC (from their website, www.usbc.org):

U.S. Border Control, founded in 1988, is a non-profit, tax-exempt, citizen's lobby. USBC is dedicated to ending illegal immigration by securing our nation's borders and reforming our immigration policies. USBC [works with] Congressmen to stop amnesty; seal our borders against terrorism and illegal immigration; and, preserve our nation's language, culture and American way of life for future generations.

Our organization accepts no financial support from any branch of government. All our support comes from concerned citizens who appreciate the work we are doing to seal our borders against drugs, disease, illegal migration and terrorism and wish to preserve our nation's language, culture and heritage for the next generations.

Source: USBC website 06n-USBC on Dec 31, 2006

Other candidates on Immigration: Chris Dodd on other issues:
Nominees:
GOP: Sen.John McCain
GOP V.P.: Gov.Sarah Palin
Democrat: Sen.Barack Obama
Dem.V.P.: Sen.Joe Biden

Third Parties:
Constitution: Chuck Baldwin
Libertarian: Rep.Bob Barr
Constitution: Amb.Alan Keyes
Liberation: Gloria La Riva
Green: Rep.Cynthia McKinney
Socialist: Brian Moore
Independent: Ralph Nader
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Page last updated: Feb 08, 2010