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Election Update: Presidential Candidates React to Immigration Ruling

by Jane Susskind, published

In recent weeks, the issue of immigration has dominated the political arena, most recently due to the Supreme Court's ruling on an Arizona law aimed at enforcing the state's immigration policy. As the general election approaches, here is an update of where the candidates stand on the Supreme Court ruling, and on the issue of immigration:

President Obama made clear his views on immigration, asserting his right as president to halt deportation of young immigrants. He later elaborated at NALEO, clarifying that the group he is targeting is “not people looking for a handout, but climbers and entrepreneurs, the hardest-working people on earth.”

Furthermore, the Supreme Court's decisions to strike down three of four key provisions of Arizona's immigration law, known as SB 1070, today, affirmed that the national government has significant power to regulate immigration.

In regards to today's ruling, the president said he is "pleased" with the outcome, but expressed concern with the practical impact of the remaining provisions in the law.

And while the recent immigration decision may come as a victory to the president, Supreme Court Justice Scalia voiced his strong opinion in his 22-page dissent, directly attacking Obama's recent immigration decision and accusing him of deliberately refusing to enforce immigration statutes.

"The president said at a news conference that the new program is 'the right thing to do' in light of Congress' failure to pass the administration's proposed revision of the Immigration Act. Perhaps it is, though Arizona may not think so. But to say, as the court does, that Arizona contradicts federal law by enforcing applications of the Immigration Act that the president declines to enforce boggles the mind."

Presidential candidate and two-term Governor of New Mexico also offered his opinion on the Supreme Court's immigration decision via Twitter:

Only thing clear re #SCOTUS ruling on #immigration is we must have less pandering and more leadership from #Congress & #WhiteHouse. #tlot — Gov. Gary Johnson (@GovGaryJohnson) June 25, 2012

After receiving the official nomination for President of the United States at the 2012 Libertarian National Convention, Gary Johnson has been gaining more attention in the news, and as one reporter puts it, could "boldly go where no Libertarian has gone before." On the issue of immigration, he has a specific plan, which can be viewed here.

Following suit, Jill Stein also took advantage of the social platform of Twitter to share her opinion on the Supreme Court's ruling:

I will give the #SCOTUS praise for throwing out much of #SB1070 a ruling that all tolerant Americans can be proud of @gpus #ows #p2 #Occupy — Jill Stein (@jillstein2012) June 25, 2012

Presumed Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not hesitate in responding either, issuing a brief statement in favor of more aggressive efforts by states to enforce immigration laws. And of course, the presidential candidate made sure to include his own attack of the president.

"President Obama has failed to provide any leadership on immigration. This represents yet another broken promise by this President.” He continued, “As candidate Obama, he promised to present an immigration plan during his first year in office,” Mr. Romney said in his statement. “But 4 years later, we are still waiting.”

Romney was vague in his statement and did not reveal whether or not he was in favor of the Arizona law. Despite pressure to elaborate on his position, Romney will likely remain relatively quiet, because support for the Arizona provisions may hurt his chances at winning the Latino vote come November. That battle, however, is looking more and more challenging with the release of a recent poll, placing Obama at a clear advantage among Hispanic voters. The USA Today-Gallup poll shows Obama leading Romney 66 percent to 25 percent. These numbers come after Obama's decisions to halt deportation on young immigrants.

Because of the importance of this demographic of voters, the presidential candidates will likely increase focus on voter registration and get out the vote efforts in the Latino community.


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