All points in green were written by Brendan Donovan, arguing for Cruz’s position. All points in brown were written by Trevor Donovan, arguing for Rubio’s position.

Why support Ted Cruz’s policy on immigration

  • Secure jobs for American Citizens. Cruz believes that there is a correlation between illegal immigration and unemployment, and he plans to end both with one swoop. The senator will audit H1-b visas and will stop issuing more visas for 180-days or until his administration can successfully audit all of these visas. He plans on doing this to secure jobs for American citizens, so that when H1-b visas are issued again, these immigrants can strengthen our economy even more. Next, Cruz plans on implementing E-Verify as a Federal tool, to allow companies to evaluate the legal status of their employees and make it illegal for companies to deduct illegal immigrants’ salaries from their taxes. Lastly, Cruz plans on instituting a merit-based system for foreign workers. This system will assess applicants’ potential to help our economy both through labor and education.
  • It’s clear that both Senators see the benefits in a merit-based immigration system, but Cruz is much more reluctant to let in immigrants. Rather than incorporating immigrants into our economy, Cruz wishes to reduce their numbers, even going as far as saying a “temporary stoppage” would be necessary. These protective measures might help a handful of Americans get jobs, but the U.S. would miss out on the companies founded by skilled immigrants, which have the potential to employ large numbers of Americans. Legal immigration should not be restricted based on unemployment in America, but rather on the economic value of each individual immigrant.
  • Cruz believes that immigrants do have value in our economy. He isn’t trying to forever forbid immigrants from entering the United States, but as of right now, legal immigration is not benefiting our economy. As you point out in your first point, “40% of American Fortune 500 companies were started by foreigners,” however, under the Obama administration, an estimated 49 percent of households headed by legal immigrants receive some form of government assistance. Changing that statistic should be a priority. By halting legal immigration, the job application field will become less competitive for Americans, and Cruz will be able to reduce the number of people on welfare.
  • End Sanctuary Policies / Birth Right Citizenship. Cruz plans on stomping out sanctuary policies by threatening to cut off federal funding to the states and counties that remain steadfast against his administration. This past year, we saw a legal citizen get murdered by an illegal immigrant in a sanctuary city. Cruz also wants to establish the biometric tracking system at all ports of exit and entry into the U.S. Using the biometric tracking system, the Federal Government will be able to determine if an immigrant has not left the country by the time their visa expired. Today, often when illegal immigrants are arrested in non-sanctuary cities or have committed a crime, their country of origin refuses our attempt at extradition. The Obama Administration does very little about this, often satisfied with wasting space in Detention Centers on foreigners. Cruz will make this unacceptable. He will use his Executive powers to stop consular offices in that country from issuing any more visas. He will go as far as pulling foreign aid from that nation, until the detainee is deported. Finally, Cruz will end birthright citizenships and alter the path to legal citizenship. He wants to do this so that illegal immigrants and tourists can’t give birth on U.S. soil for the sole purpose of receiving benefits from the U.S. Government. Many other countries, like Canada, have already done this.
  • Ending sanctuary policies, while seemingly sensible, is not an attainable goal and must be settled at the local level of government. While sanctuaries may house illegal immigrants, sanctuary cities are actually safer for everyone in them, as homicide rates in sanctuary cities are significantly lower than those in similarly sized cities. Secondly, extradition cannot be forced onto a nation, and ending foreign aid to that country could have long-term ramifications. Finally, a biometric tracking system could cost upwards of 500 million dollars, money which would have to come from raised taxes.
  • Ending sanctuary cities is no easy task, but it is not against federal law to cut benefits to local governments. Cruz is not making these cities retract their policies, but there are steps that he can take to “persuade” them. Marco Rubio has a similar plan, and he believes that sanctuary cities are not safe. He says that illegal immigrants who are caught and released by police are “free to endanger their communities again.” Countries that do not take back their citizens upon request of extradition by the U.S., are disrespecting our government, and we need a leader who will be firm and protect our interests. This illegal immigrant could be a criminal and if kept in America, could pose an imminent threat to American citizens. The biometric tracking system will not be cheap (nothing ever is), but Cruz believes that this tool would greatly benefit our safety and could pay immediate dividends.
  • Strengthen the DHS. Senator Cruz’s first step to immigration reform requires increasing the budget for the Department of Homeland Security. Cruz plans on tripling the number of trained Border Patrol Agents “on the ground” and reserve agents. Cruz wants to complete the wall on our southern border, so that it will stretch the entirety of our border with Mexico. Also, he plans to increase aerial surveillance. Finally, Cruz plans on increasing the number of immigration courts throughout the U.S. and increasing the number of permanent detention centers for illegal immigrants in the interior of the country. Cruz wants to be swift with catching and deporting illegal immigrants and make it easier for DHS to pursue people here unlawfully.
  • While both Cruz and Rubio realize the necessity of securing the southern border, Cruz’s plan for doing so will require a massive budget. Completing the wall on the border is necessary, but large amounts of aerial and ground surveillance to protect the border could take away money from the real issue – letting immigrants stay in the country. If immigrants cannot find jobs – and they won’t with E-verify as a federal tool – the massive increase in border security proposed by Senator Cruz would lead to less money for other, equally important issues.
  • Senator Cruz has proven his position on illegal immigrants in the United States, “I have never supported legalization, and I do not intend to support legalization.” Senator Cruz has a multi-layered plan for immigrants already within our borders, including E-Verify and halting H-1b visas. Illegal immigration is not going to end overnight, so preventing any more illegal immigrants from crossing our border is equally as important as ending the pathway to legalization. Under the Obama Administration, the DHS has lost a significant portion of their budget, and Cruz’s budget reallocations will allow the DHS to become as strong as needed. Illegal immigration is an important issue.

Why support Marco Rubio’s policy on immigration

  • Make immigration more economically beneficial. In creating his three-step plan to reform immigration, Rubio plans to implement a merit-based system for accepting immigrants, realizing that immigrants can bring great economic value to our country by creating jobs. In this system, candidates for immigration would be assessed on their skills rather than their family ties in the United States. While Cruz promotes a reformed system in which “legal immigration is halted while the American unemployment rate is high,” Rubio notes that 40% of American Fortune 500 companies were started by people who came to the US as immigrants, and these large companies would be able to create more jobs, lowering the unemployment rate in the process. Rubio says in his book, American Dreams, “the right immigration system is a critical component of economic growth,” which could be achieved by implementing Rubio’s merit and skills-based system.
  • It’s apparent that both Senator Cruz and Senator Rubio agree on a merit-based system for legal immigration. However, saying that the immigrants we admit legally are going to start “large companies” is speculative and optimistic. Cruz wants to unlevel the playing field, allowing citizens the first bite at these more desirable professions. Cruz states, “An estimated 49 percent of households headed by legal immigrants receive some form of government assistance.” Clearly, legal immigration is not benefiting our economy and our people.
  • It is not overly “speculative and optimistic” to say that legal immigrants will start large companies, as studies show that 40% of American Fortune 500 companies were started by foreigners, all of whom were legal immigrants. By giving so much preference to American applicants, Cruz would be taking away skilled workers from small businesses, and Rubio’s plan to ensure a slightly unleveled playing field would be perfectly executed through his “180-day rule.” With Rubio’s implementations, the economy would benefit from legal immigration and would create jobs for unemployed Americans in the process.
  • Monitor H1-b visa program more heavily. Rubio plans to increase the number of H1-b visas available to companies, but ensure that they are used correctly. The purpose of H1-b visas is to allow companies to hire foreign workers to do jobs that Americans either cannot do or do not want to take. In the Obama administration, however, the rules of H1-b visas have not been clearly outlined and have not been enforced at all. Rubio plans to reform the system of H1-b to benefit American workers and protect companies from legal action. If elected, he would implement a rule that companies must advertise a job to Americans for at least 180 days prior to giving it to an immigrant worker, thus ensuring that preference is given to American-born workers in employment. If companies are not using the visa system correctly, Rubio will have a zero-tolerance policy, taking away the organization’s right to use the H1-b visa program.
  • Cruz and Rubio strongly disagree on this issue. Cruz has a solid plan, “stop issuing more visas, for 180-days.” It will be very hard for Rubio to reform and monitor the system while increasing the number of visas, especially when other presidents have failed.
  • By using a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to companies abusing the H1-b visa system, Rubio will be able to threaten companies out of cheating the system. On the flipside, Cruz’s plan to shut down the system for 180 days is remarkably inefficient, as it requires a delay of almost 6 months, by which time companies would have gone through two financial quarters, and drastic changes could have been made. Rubio plans to reform the system to serve its original purpose of providing companies with skilled, foreign, workers.
  • Secure the border to prevent illegal immigration. As part of his three-step plan, Rubio plans to complete a fence in order to secure the southern border. As large segments of the border are unguarded, immigrating illegally isn’t all that difficult and won’t be until the fence has been completed. To ensure knowledge of illegal immigrants, Rubio plans to install E-Verify as a federal government tool. Rubio has said he will take away the President’s power to defer deportations, a power which he says has been abused during the Obama administration’s time. Showing his extreme opposition to illegal immigration, Rubio stated during a debate that he will not allow amnesty in any form to immigrants who arrived illegally.
  • Both Senators have very similar ideas about ending illegal immigration. It is necessary for the U.S. to complete a southern fence and implement E-Verify as a government tool. But Cruz is more extreme and adamant in his policy. Cruz plans on ending sanctuary cities, while Rubio does not state this.
  • As stated earlier, ending sanctuary policies nationwide is not the way to end illegal immigration. Sanctuary cities have been proven to be safer for all citizens, and the process of ending sanctuary policies should not be an executive action taken by the president. Rather, it should be an act of legislature passed in each state’s legislation.