Republican Senator Scott Brown and Democratic hopeful Elizabeth Warren may agree that the immigration system needs changes, but the two have widely different ideas as to how immigration issues should be handled. While both agree that more should be done to keep skilled immigrants in the country to help the economy, they disagree strongly when it comes to the issue of undocumented immigration.
Senator Scott Brown voted against the DREAM Act, which would have given children of undocumented immigrants a path to citizenship if they served in the armed forces or completed a college education. According to Brown, the DREAM Act is “backdoor amnesty,” providing legal status to those who entered the US illegally. Warren stated that she would have voted for the measure because the legislation would have protected those who did nothing wrong. In the end, the DREAM Act was defeated in the Senate.
Warren is also a supporter of President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. That policy allows qualified young undocumented immigrants to get work authorization and freedom from deportation for a period of two years. Those who qualify can also re-apply, staying in the country for longer than the initial two years. According to Brown, DACA will only encourage more people to enter the US without papers, because they will see that the repercussions for doing so are not strict.
According to Brown, the US needs to deal with undocumented immigration by strengthening borders and ensuring that undocumented immigrants do not have any benefits within the US. For example, Brown wants to ensure that undocumented immigrants do not qualify for in-state tuition and other benefits. He also wants to ensure that the process for immigrating to the US is as simple and streamlined as possible, so that people are not tempted to enter the country illegally. According to Brown, one of the issues is that some people wait to enter the US legally for years, which makes undocumented immigration seem more appealing. Brown also wants to focus on immigration from certain countries, such as Ireland.
According to Warren, however, undocumented immigrants who obey US laws should be allowed to gain some type of legal status in the US, so that they can pay taxes and contribute more fully to the US and its economy. She does not believe that Brown’s solutions will work because a more comprehensive solution – one that addresses both undocumented and legal immigration – is needed.