Five Questions for the Presidential Debates


The presidential debates begin soon, and we can only hope that meaningful questions about immigration are asked. Since none of the hosts are immigrants, I thought I’d suggest some questions that need answering:

1. Immigrants are leading the way in creating those small and medium sized businesses that economists say are leading us out of the recession, yet full integration of immigrant entrepreneurs is often blocked by a lack of knowledge about American practices. How can the Federal government unlock the power of the immigrant entrepreneur?

2. A new bill limiting the use of Spanish and other languages is pending in the House of Representatives. What is the place of languages other than English in American society and what would your approach be to people who speak them?

3. More than 300,000 young people will have applied for Deferred Action by Election Day. Will you continue the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program?


4. What will you do to permanently resolve the legal status of the DREAMers?

5. There are at least 9 million undocumented who do not qualify for DACA. Do you favor legalizing these undocumented immigrants? If so, whom, and will legalization include a path to citizenship?

In answering these questions, please don’t pander to the darkest fears of voters. Give real policy goals, clear outlines of specific proposals, and timelines for implementation.

Our “Nation of Immigrants” deserves the truth.

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Patrick Young blogs daily for Long Island Wins. He is the Downstate Advocacy Director of the New York Immigration Coalition and Special Professor of Immigration Law at Hofstra School of Law. He served as the Director of Legal Services and Program at Central American Refugee Center (CARECEN) for three decades before retiring in 2019. Pat is also a student of immigration history and the author of The Immigrants' Civil War.

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