(CNN Spanish) — The midterm elections on November 8 could change the course of the United States and shape the 2014 presidential election. One of the hot topics of the election is immigration policy, which could change the lives of the 40 million immigrants in the country. .
The immigration issue, thus, has crept into the campaigns ahead of the midterm elections, and the proposals cover a wide spectrum. While some states will continue to be havens for immigrants, others will become more dangerous in an increasingly polarized country.
In concrete terms, there are some states in which the issue is hotter than in others, due to a greater influx due to its proximity to the border. These are California, Texas, Florida, New York and Arizona. All have a high Hispanic population and are final destinations for many immigrants from the region.
In California, Democrat Gavin Newsom will run for a second term, and for that he will have to face Republican Brian Dahle, who, in general, has not focused on the immigration issue in his platform or in the interviews he has given to the media. communication.
Currently, California is one of the states with the most favorable policies for immigrants. There, access to higher education, access to medical care and public benefits has been expanded, progress has been made in protections for immigrant workers, in support for immigrant students, and opportunities for economic development have been improved, mobility and inclusion through access to driver’s licenses and immigration services pro bonoaccording to information from Newsom’s office.
In addition, according to the same source, California became the first state to expand health service eligibility to low-income adults age 50 and older, regardless of immigration status, an important milestone in the state’s progress toward coverage. universal health. In September of this year, Newsom announced that undocumented immigrants would be able to obtain a state identification (ID).
Texas is one of the states in which the immigration issue is central. In the case of the current governor, Greg Abbott, who has been one of the Republicans who has fought the hardest to toughen immigration policy.
In October 2021, Abbott asked President Joe Biden to complete the construction of the border wall that Donald Trump began and that was the subject of multiple national controversies. But the measures that the governor of Texas has carried out to “secure” the border are multiple: he allocated more than US$ 4,000 million in funds for that purpose, deployed thousands of members of the Texas National Guard along the border , and even since April it has been transporting thousands of immigrants to the cities of Washington, New York and Chicago, among other things.
On this last measure a conflict of proportions has been opened. Abbott’s goal was to demonstrate the burden these immigrants represent and to dispute certain claims by the Biden administration about the security of the border with Mexico. “Vice President (Kamala) Harris affirms that our border is ‘secure’ and denies the crisis,” tweeted Abbott, who became the main promoter of sending immigrants to the Northeast of the country, and who will seek re-election as governor on November 8th. “We are sending immigrants to her backyard to ask the Biden administration to do its job and make the border secure.”
Abbott will face Democrat Beto O’Rouke in November, who on his official website assures that “Texas should be the leader in building a safe, legal and orderly immigration system that meets the needs of our state and our country. No state has more to gain or lose.”
O’Rouke thus proposes border surveillance “that really works”, relying on technology such as sensors, watchtowers and drones that help authorities make arrests and increase processing capacity to more efficiently evaluate immigrants. .
In addition, he proposes a guest worker program that provides a legal framework for immigrants to fill labor shortages in key Texas industries such as agriculture, oil and gas, and manufacturing. “We can also reform our family reunification system so that US citizens do not take more than 20 years to legally bring relatives from other countries,” he adds on his official page.
The governor of Florida, Ron de Santis, like Greg Abbott, has been transporting immigrants and is one of those who maintains that we must “combat the crisis at the border.”
In September of this year, De Santis stated: “We are not a sanctuary state and it is better to be able to go to a sanctuary jurisdiction, and yes, we will help facilitate that transportation so that they can go to a more promising place.” And he added: “All communities in America should share the burden. It shouldn’t all fall on a handful of red states.”
Months ago, on the website of the state of Florida, De Santis announced a package of measures that outline his immigration policy and that include the formation of a state task force to intercept people smuggling, trafficking and to seize illegal weapons. In addition, he petitioned the Florida Supreme Court for a state grand jury to examine international human smuggling networks that bring aliens to the southern border and, ultimately, to Florida.
Third, Governor DeSantis signed Senate Bill 1808, sweeping legislation that seeks to “prohibit government agencies from contracting with any carrier that facilitates the resettlement of illegal aliens in Florida,” in addition to “requiring certain law enforcement that they sign a written agreement with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration laws by identifying illegal aliens.
De Santis will face, on the Democratic side, Charlie Chris, who, in addition to having served as a legislator, has already held the seat of governor of the state between 2007 and 2011. His immigration policy could be defined as one of ” open arms”: on his official site, Chris proposes the creation of an office to help new Floridians (about 330,000 a year, of which 20% are immigrants).
This office “will eliminate bureaucratic barriers and provide the information and services necessary to ensure that every new Floridian has a successful transition.” In addition, “it will serve as the primary resource for new residents who need help putting down roots in the Sunshine State. In his platform, Chris makes no distinction between an immigrant from Boston and one from Florida. “The Office for New Floridians will ensure make Florida the most welcoming state in the United States for new residents.
Governor Kathy Hochul was sworn in as Governor on August 24, 2021, after serving as Vice Governor. Since then, she has pushed for a series of measures in favor of immigrants, such as legislation that classifies certain threats about reporting a person’s immigration status as extortion or coercion.
“New York was built on the hard work and determination of generations of immigrants, and we must support those trying to build a better life for themselves and their families,” Hochul said. “This legislation will protect New Yorkers from bad actors who use extortion or coercion because of their immigration status, and make our state safer from vile threats and intimidation.”
Weeks ago, the governor also announced the creation of the Institute for Research and Policy on Immigration Integration of the State of New York, with the aim of helping immigrants in the transition to community life, in access to higher education and in integration as a labor force. The Institute’s services may include language facilities, school integration, housing assistance, and job security, among other things.
On the other side, Hochul will have to face Republican Lee Zeldin, who has denounced the state’s incentives to attract illegal immigration. In a letter sent in August of this year, Zeldin asks the governor to support the repeal of New York’s “Green Light” law – which allows undocumented immigrants to access driver’s licenses – “to speak out against the transportation of illegal immigrants to New York by the Biden Administration, to allow and encourage greater coordination and cooperation among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, and to repeal New York’s many incentives that reward illegal entry.”
Arizona is currently governed by Republican Doug Ducey, who will not be able to run again for a new term. In his place, Kari Lake will compete, who will face Democrat Katie Hobbs.
So far this campaign, the candidate who has the support of Donald Trump, has called for an aggressive reinforcement of the border and promised to “end the damn wall.” She affirms that, when she is governor, she will present a budget that contemplates the resources for the completion of the border wall. On her website, Lake states that to “defend Arizona, we will do what Washington won’t do.”
According to her, the immigration crisis has opened up a situation of chaos, in which “violent narco-terrorists” take advantage of immigrants who are in search of a better life. Furthermore, she affirms that, as governor, she will act “boldly and aggressively to end the border crisis.” This implies, according to her official website, the expansion of the State Rangers, increasing the presence of the National Guard and increasing the deportation of “criminals.”
“I’m not going to wait for Washington’s approval or rely on the empty promises of distant politicians to do what’s best for Arizonans,” concludes his immigration policy. “The border is under attack, and we need a fighter to stand up to Biden’s open border policy.”
On the other side, Democrat Katie Hobbs recognizes that it is necessary to “secure” the border, to prevent criminals and traffickers from entering the country, and to put an end to chaos and anarchy. But let us also recognize the very real and devastating humanitarian crisis unfolding at our country’s doorstep. And no comprehensive immigration reform plan will be complete without legislation that gives DREAMers the stability and certainty they deserve and a path to citizenship.
“As governor, I will use the tools at my disposal to bring resources to our border communities and provide significant relief to Arizonans suffering the consequences of decades of federal inaction,” she adds on her official site, on the immigration issue.