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Eight Issues Of '08: Immigration

This story was written by Bethany Pint, Iowa State Daily

The next president will get to choose who gets in and who gets out.

James Dorsett, director of the Iowa State UniversityInternational Students and Scholars Office, said although Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., have similar plans, he thinks Obamas structure of immigration reform and strong borders have the overall advantage over McCains flipped position.

I guess I would have to say that his position would, on the face of it, seem to present greater possibilities, Dorsett said regarding Obamas platform. But again, if McCain were elected, he has emphasized, via his past work on the immigration bills, that there is a possibility that he would support something that would help our students and our economy.

Jan Flora, professor of sociology-Agriculture and Life Sciences said he thinks Obama has the best proposal of the two candidates.

Even though McCain was a sponsor of comprehensive immigration reform at an earlier point, he seems to have changed his orientation, Flora said. And for that reason I worry about what his being president would mean, for not only immigrants but for the orientation of the country as a whole.

Iowa States total international student population is 2,497; an increase of 11 percent from 2,244 from the fall 2007 semester, Dorsett said.

While the increase may benefit Iowa State financially, and in terms of diversity, Dorsett said the numbers might be more difficult to obtain in years to come, depending on which presidential candidate is elected Nov. 4.

Dorsett said because international students who attend Iowa State are non-immigrants, the candidates plans will not have too much of an effect on the student population, since they are both targeted to illegal immigrants.

However, Dorsett said, where there might be some emphasis that could affect our students is on the stance of the Department of State and how strongly they go about looking at visa applications.

Dorsett and Flora both think issues are missing on the candidates agendas.

It is more in their interest to speak more in generalities, because if you speak in a higher level you dont offend more people who may not vote for you, Dorsett said. I think they could both do more in outlining a firm plan in how they would deal with these issues.

Flora said both candidates are missing a comprehensive plan to include skill levels and education necessary for U.S. growth and development. Additionally, Flora said family is a necessary component that should be included in the plan.

I feel strongly that the reunification of families needs to be maintained as well, he said. The problem is that were not going to have comprehensive immigration passed for a couple of years yet could be even longer, I dont know.

Flora said the reason for this is the current state of the economy and the overall concerns of the candidates. He said Americans must keep in mind the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement raids that have taken place in the country to remember that immigrants are people too.

I think its important to have a moratorium of the ICE raids, because we cant continue a couple more years with this kind of fear and use of illegal tactics on the part of Homeland Security, he said.