John Kasich on Immigration

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 candidate for President


Nuts to deport 11M people; legalize with fine & back taxes

Q: You said earlier this week that the idea of deporting 11 million undocumented workers in this country is "nuts."

KASICH: I'm for sealing the border, I'm for a guest worker program. People can come in, work, and go back home. We haven't closed the border because special interests, I believe, blocked it. We have 11 and a half million people here. If they have not committed a crime since they've been here, make them pay a fine & back taxes, and give them a path to legalization, never to citizenship. It is not going to happen that we're going to run around and try to drag 11 and a half million people out of their homes.

Ted CRUZ: I want people to be able to come out of the shadows. [But] I have promised to rescind every single illegal executive action [by Obama on immigration].

Jeb BUSH: Coming here legally should be a lot easier than coming here illegally.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

It's a silly argument to ship 11M illegals back to Mexico

DONALD TRUMP: [The 11 million people who entered illegally are] going to have to go out. We have no choice if we're going to be a country.

KASICH: In 1986 Ronald Reagan basically said the people who were here, if they were law-abiding, could stay. But, what didn't happen is we didn't build the walls effectively and we didn't control the border. We need to control our border. But if people think that we are going to ship 11 million people who are law-abiding, who are in this country, and somehow pick them up at their house and ship them out to Mexico, think about the families. Think about the children. So, you know what the answer really is? If they have been law-abiding, they pay a penalty. They get to stay. We protect the wall. Anybody else comes over, they go back. But for the 11 million people, come on, folks. We all know you can't pick them up and ship them across, back across the border. It's a silly argument. It is not an adult argument. It makes no sense.

Source: Fox Business/WSJ First Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Focus of immigration should be to keep families together

Q: You were giving an impassioned talk about inclusiveness, which I know is important to you. But you ended up discussing tipping a Latino hotel maid for giving you extra soap. Hillary Clinton responded on Twitter: "Talking about Latinos doesn't just mean talking about tips." Do you regret your remarks?

KASICH: Look, I have to be clear about it. I'm just trying to say that, in the course of a presidential campaign, I'm glad that I don't move so fast that I ignore people. And my views on our Hispanic friends across this country have been very positive. They are impactful in so many different ways. My position on immigration has been on that is intended to keep families together and to give them a good place in American society. I have great respect for [Latinos]. I think they are an important fabric of America.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

Latino immigrants will continue to play critical role in US

Q: You said "A lot of [immigrants] do jobs that they're willing to do, and that's why in the hotel you a leave a little tip." Some groups took offense, feeling that you were stereotyping Latino immigrants.

KASICH: The head of the Hispanic Chamber said he appreciated my comments. And as you know, having followed me through this race, I've had a very reasonable position on immigration. I've always said that Hispanics are such a critical part of the fabric of the United States. They occupy jobs from top to bottom. They're God fearing and they're hard working. And if I need to clarify what I meant by that, I'm more than glad to do it. And that means that they hold very important positions. I've got a friend who's a doctor in oncology. I mean, that shows you how crazy it can get in this business. But to be clear, I believe that, from top to bottom, Hispanics play a critical role in America, not only today, but going forward.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 20, 2015

Focus on border & guest workers, not birthright citizenship

Q: In your 2010 campaign for Governor, you were quoted as saying that you would amend the Constitution to end birthright citizenship. But more recently, you said leave the Constitution alone, let them be citizens. Why the change?

KASICH: The 14th amendment makes it clear that when you're born here you become a citizen. So bringing up that issue, because we do need to build the fence to protect our border, have reasonable guest worker program so people can come in and out, that lawbreakers go to prison or are deported, and the rest of the people pay a fine, they wait and they can be legalized. I think that's something the American people would support and I think it's something that could pass Congress. I'm interested in getting things done, not just banging on the podium, being an ideologue and making statements.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Sep 13, 2015

1993: end birthright citizenship; 2015: not part of approach

Q: in 1993 you co-sponsored a bill in Congress that would take away "birth right citizenship": that is the citizenship automatically given to babies born in the US, even if they are born to undocumented immigrants. In 2010 you reiterated that, is that still your position?

A: First of all, we ought to finish the fence. The 11 million who are here, we ought to find out who they are. If they've been law abiding over a period of time they ought to be legalized and ought to be able to stay here. If you have violated the law, we're going to ship you out. Once that fence gets built, we should make it clear, anybody who sneaks in, you're going back home. And in addition we need a guest worker program so that people can come in and work and be able to go back to support their family.

Q: Would ending birthright citizenship be part of this larger immigration approach?

A: I don't think we need to go there.

Source: CNN SOTU 2015 interview series: 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 9, 2015

Seal the border with Mexico, support legal immigrants

Q: Do you support the Senate comprehensive compromise on immigration reform?

KASICH: What I support is a guest worker program expanded so people can come in and then go home. Seal the border. There are some interest groups that don't want the border to be sealed.

Q: What does "seal the border" mean, though?

KASICH: You do it with fencing and you do it with technology, drones and sensors. And, you know, Duncan Hunter in San Diego has significantly reduced the number of people coming across the border because of his initiatives on fencing. So do as best you can there. I've been told by grownups, real experts, that most of this can be done effectively. Guest worker program, the 12 million that are here, if they violated the law, they're going to have to pay a fine and pay a penalty for the fact that they violated the law. But, you know, if they're part of our culture now and society, and they're doing fine, they're hardworking, they're just like all of us, then I think they can stay.

Source: Meet the Press 2015 interviews of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Jul 26, 2015

Open to pathway to citizenship, but doesn't like it

Kasich said that while he "doesn't like" the idea of a pathway to citizenship, he is open to it. "I don't want them to have to leave," he said of undocumented immigrants. "As to whether you take the final step to citizenship, that's a whole other question. But what I said is, 'I'm not closed to anything.'"

At the Republican Governors Association conference in November, Kasich voiced a similar opinion. "My sense is, I don't like the idea of citizenship when people jump the line," he said. "We may have to do it. It may be a laborious and tough process. I would never say you would never do it."

Kasich has avoided giving his direct opinion on the federal DREAM Act, though Ohio was among the 25 states that challenged the federal government over Obama's executive actions on immigration.

Source: National Journal 2016 series: Republicans on immigration , Feb 23, 2015

Post-Sept-11 open-door melting-pot is essentially intact

We are, at the bottom, a country built on the principles of Christianity and Judaism, and yet we make abundant room for Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and every other faith. Good for us. Good for ALL of us. Whoever you are, and whatever your beliefs, you ca come and live among us.

We've tightened up our borders a bit, since September 11, 2001, and in some communities our tolerance thresholds have been challenged as we attempt to coexist with our Arab friends, but America's open-door, melting-pot, inclusiv approach remains essentially intact: You can build your temples here. But for the whole lot of us to survive, there needs to be that religious foundation, and there ought to be some uniformity within that foundation. Clearly, our Founding Fathers recognized this as well--celebrating our Judeo-Christian principles in our Constitution. The Jewish and Christian religions that flow from these principles give us our shared conscience, and provide an essential bulwark for any free and dynamic society.

Source: Stand For Something, by John Kasich, p. 24 , May 10, 2006

Limit the number of legal immigrants, and their benefits

Source: Congressional 1996 National Political Awareness Test , Nov 1, 1996

Voted YES on more immigrant visas for skilled workers.

Vote to pass a bill to increase the number of temporary visas granted to highly skilled workers from 65,000 to 115,000 by the year 2000.
Reference: Bill introduced by Smith, R-TX.; Bill HR 3736 ; vote number 1998-460 on Sep 24, 1998

Declared English the official language of the US.

Kasich co-sponsored declaring English the official language of the US



    The Congress finds and declares the following:
  1. The US is comprised of individuals and groups from diverse ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds.
  2. The US has benefited and continues to benefit from this rich diversity.
  3. The common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been a common language.
  4. The Federal Government should maintain a language common to all people.
  5. English has historically been the common language and the language of opportunity in the US.
  6. The purpose of this title is to help immigrants better assimilate and take full advantage of opportunities in the US.
  7. By learning the English language, immigrants will be empowered with the language skills and literacy necessary to become responsible citizens and productive workers in the US.
  8. The use of a single common language in conducting official business of the Federal Government will promote efficiency and fairness.
  9. English should be recognized in law as the language of official business of the Federal Government.
  10. Any monetary savings derived from the enactment of this title should be used for the teaching of the English language to non-English-speaking immigrants.
Source: English Language Empowerment Act (H.R.123) 99-HR0123 on Jan 6, 1999

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Page last updated: Mar 24, 2016