Questions for Monday's Presidential Debate

By Marguerite Telford and Marguerite Telford on September 25, 2016

The first of three presidential debates will be held on Monday, September 26, moderated by Lester Holt of NBC Nightly News. The topic areas – America's Direction, Achieving Prosperity, and Securing America – are broad, but one issue area that will surely be covered is immigration. Immigration is an issue that impacts both the economy and national security, the top two voter concerns as shown by most polls.

The phrasing of immigration questions may be challenging, as the candidates have provided very different levels of detail in their immigration plans. The Washington Post has reported that the Clinton campaign is concerned that Trump will receive simplistic questions because he hasn't put out "detailed material" on which to be questioned. On immigration, at least, this is not true. Trump has a very thorough plan; Clinton does not.

The other challenge is in the follow-up questions. As Secretary of State, Hillary had the opportunity to make changes to immigration policy, national security vetting, and visa programs. Trump does not have past experience with immigration policy, but he has made immigration a cornerstone of his campaign. Trump should be asked how he will change the present system of mass immigration; Clinton should be asked why she did not.

Here are some immigration questions for the candidates:

1. Approximately 61 million immigrants and their young children now live in the U.S., and the U.S. currently allows in over one million permanent residents every year. How much immigration is too much?

2. President Obama's immigration policies have advanced through unilateral action – executive decrees – which are seen by many as unconstitutional. Do you believe there is any limit to what a president can do unilaterally on immigration? (A response from Clinton would be particularly enlightening, as she has said that she would be "less harsh and aggressive" than Obama in enforcing immigration laws.)

3. Recently Americans learned that over 1,800 foreigners with outstanding deportation orders, many from source countries of terrorism, were mistakenly granted citizenship. Several of these aliens ended up working in security-sensitive fields. This national security risk occurred because the illegal aliens used different names or birthdates to apply for citizenship, and their fingerprint records had not been digitized. The fingerprints of as many as 315,000 illegal aliens with final deportation orders or who are fugitive criminals are missing from federal databases. If our government can't access its own data to vet immigrants already in the country, how do you think we can successfully vet foreigners living in failed states?

4. Since the nation's founding, America's motto has been e pluribus unum, "out of many, one." But ongoing mass immigration makes it difficult for assimilation to work. Do you think the melting pot experience can continue when we bring in massive numbers who do not speak English, have a low education level, and stay together in ethnic enclaves?

5. During this administration, tens of thousands of convicted criminal aliens were released into America's neighborhoods because their home countries refused to take them back. This despite federal law requiring the State Department to stop issuing visas in such uncooperative countries. These convicted criminal aliens had records that included homicide convictions, sexual assault convictions, aggravated assault convictions, and kidnapping convictions. Would you allow this to continue?

6. A new study by the National Academy of Sciences shows that mass immigration drives down annual wages by 5.2 percent for native-born workers who are in direct competition with immigrants for jobs, while costing taxpayers around $299 billion in public services. The study found that the net economic benefit of mass immigration is around $55 billion, but that benefit requires a $500 billion wage transfer from low-skilled workers to immigrants and businesses. Has our policy of mass immigration betrayed workers and taxpayers, and should immigration be formulated in the best interest of U.S. citizens or the global order?

7. Congress has made it clear that immigration enforcement must occur before any further amnesties, so as not to attract new illegal immigration. What will you do about the illegal population presently in the U.S.? DACA and DAPA, as well as several other smaller amnesties, have already been enacted through executive action; are you prepared to amnesty the rest of the illegal population?

8. The controversial H-1B visa program has received much attention the last few years due to foreign workers replacing Americans in tech positions. We have seen this at Disney, IBM, Toys 'R' Us, Pfizer, and recently McDonald's – all of which is permitted under the rules of this visa program. Will you end the program, and if not, would you change it to prohibit such actions?

9. There are over 300 jurisdictions in the country that operate as sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. This has resulted in local authorities releasing thousands of criminal aliens into our communities to commit further crimes. Do you believe that sanctuary cities should continue to release illegal immigrants with felony records instead of handing them over to federal authorities?

Topics: Politics