On June 11th, 2008, the Deseret News published the results of a 20-question candidate survey given to Utah Third Congressional District Republican candidates Chris Cannon and Jason Chaffetz, who will square off in a closed Republican primary on June 24th. Each response in eight pages long, so I will not publish the entire response here. A Deseret News graphic summarizes their responses. There's also a separate story in which the candidate's general qualities are discussed.
Addendum: On June 14th, the Deseret News reported that a KUED debate between Cannon and Chaffetz became quite heated. They don't like each other.
Both candidates are conservative, and have almost identical views on foreign policy, energy, and social issues. The one area they differ is on immigration. And that's what I'll present here.
Click HERE to view the entire survey on Chris Cannon. Chris Cannon's official campaign website HERE; another semi-official site HERE.
Click HERE to view the entire survey on Jason Chaffetz. Jason Chaffetz' official campaign website HERE.
Each question on immigration, followed first by Cannon's response and then by Chaffetz' response, is presented below.
(1): Please give — point by point — your solution to the U.S. illegal immigration problem?
Chris Cannon: "Point 1: Complete the Border Fence I voted for and support and continue to staff up the Border Patrol to cover the entire southwest border.
"Point 2: Institute a tamper-proof ID card for all immigrants seeking to work in the United States. This ID card would employ biometrics and interface with an entry-exit database.
"Point 3: Strengthen E-verify for employers to eliminate excuses and confusion inherent in our current work verification process. Employers should know in minutes if an applicant is legal.
"Point 4: Require any immigrant seeking US Citizenship to demonstrate a proficiency in English, American History, and Civics.
"Point 5: Institute "Catch and Deport" while mandating that after a certain date, any person found in the US illegally, would be barred from re-entry for any reason for 10, 20, or more years.
"Point 6: Create a process whereby anyone currently in the United States illegally can come forward, pay a fine, receive a criminal background check, go to the end of the line if interested in becoming a US citizen, receive a temporary work status, forfeit all Social Security monies earned, be required to either have employer provided health insurance or a Health Savings Account. If anyone is found to have a criminal history of any kind, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry. If anyone is found after the grace period, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry.
"Point 7: Enforce the law and the new programs from day 1."
▪ FIX LEGAL IMMIGRATION
▪ REJECT AMNESTY
▪ LOCK DOWN THE BORDER, ENFORCE VISAS
▪ HAVE THE POLITICAL WILL TO ENFORCE THE CURRENT LAWS
▪ GET RID OF REWARDS & INCENTIVES TO BE HERE ILLEGALLY
▪ GIVE BUSINESS THE TOOLS & ALIGN FINANCIAL INCENTIVES
▪ INSIST ON ASSIMILATION (English should be the official language of the United States of America)
(2): What specifically should be done about the 12 million or so illegal immigrants who are now in the United States?
Chris Cannon: "Create a process whereby anyone currently in the United States illegally can come forward, pay a fine, receive a criminal background check, go to the end of the line if interested in becoming a US citizen, receive a temporary work status, forfeit all Social Security monies earned, be required to either have employer provided health insurance or an Health Savings Account. If anyone is found to have a criminal history of any kind, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry. If anyone is found after the grace period, they are to be deported and barred from re-entry. [Ed. Note: That's called "amnesty", Mr. Cannon.]
"Attempting to round up 12 million people presents serious civil liberties issues, and I doubt most Americans — particularly Utah conservatives — would approve of the process doing so would require. Authorities would still have to have reasonable suspicion or probable cause to inquire as to someone’s status, and without a verifiable identification system, ascertaining someone’s status would be difficult within the legal time frame to hold someone. Once we begin enforcing the law and employers are provided with a legitimate e-verify system, neither workers nor employers will have any excuse or place to hide. This enforcement will do more than any law enforcement agency could do to ameliorate the problem."
Jason Chaffetz: "We need a pathway to deportation. To facilitate this pathway to deportation, we should allow people currently here illegally to come forward and apply for a short-term work visa if done in conjunction with a sponsoring legal business. The visa will be for a specified time. At the conclusion of the visa, the illegal immigrant must return to his or her country of origin, or face serious criminal consequences.
"This should be a limited-time offer and any adult person identified without this application in process should be detained and deported. This will allow us to identify illegal immigrants and uniformly return them to their country of origin while allowing a legal workforce, with proper documentation and background checks, to enter the country in a uniform fashion."
(3): Do you favor or oppose some kind of pathway to legal status for the current illegal immigrants?
Chris Cannon: "I favor a path to legal status for those in this country illegally who have not committed any crimes and are willing to come forward, pay a fine, learn English within a specified period of time, acquire health insurance or establish a funded HSA, and go to the back of the line. The legal status would be temporary and with a verifiable entry/exit ID system, I would also agree to requiring a return to their home country for a period of time before they could apply again to work in the United States." [Ed. Note: In other words, amnesty AGAIN.]
Jason Chaffetz: "For those here illegally, the ONLY pathway to U.S. citizenship is to go home to their country of origin and apply from there. Period. However, fixing our legal immigration process is critical. Those who apply legally, the way we want them to, should be able to get a timely answer. The process of immigrating legally should not stretch out for decades as it does now."
(4): Utah has a state law that allows children of illegal immigrants to pay in-state tuition to public colleges and universities. Do you favor or oppose that law? And do you believe Congress should pass a similar law?
Chris Cannon: "I believe that decision belongs solely to the Utah legislature. Congress should pass no law mandating, either way, how states should treat children of illegal immigrants vis-a-vis education, and I have sponsored legislation to make that state primacy absolutely clear." [Ed. Note: Note that Mr. Cannon scrupulouly avoids answering the question as to whether or not HE favors or opposes the law.]
Jason Chaffetz: "I oppose in-state tuition for those who are here illegally. The whole principle is wrong. We should not offer rewards and incentives for those who are here illegally. We must reward those who follow the rules, not those who have broken them." [Ed. Note: Note that, UNLIKE Mr. Cannon, Mr. Chaffetz actually answers the original question.]
(5): What specifically can you do to make sure Congress comes up with an illegal immigration solution over the next two years of your term?
Chris Cannon: "On this issue, I have influence on both sides of the debate. As someone who is open to a guest worker program but who also voted for and supports securing the border without exception, I have the credibility to help maneuver the legislation through the legislative process. I can assure wavering members on both sides to support border security and enforcement first, while working to help create a verifiable and stable immigration system. In my time in office and through my years on the Judiciary Committee, I have worked extensively on this issue — much more deeply than the sound-bite level, so when the time is ripe to move the issue forward I can advocate the correct direction we should take and solutions that will actually work. For example, because of the years I have spent on this issue I opposed the Senate Comprehensive Immigration Plan last year not out of emotion but out of fact that it was unworkable and bad policy." [Ed. Note: Considering that Mr. Cannon talks out BOTH sides of his mouth on immigration, it's easy to understand why he would have "influence on both sides of the debate".]
Jason Chaffetz: "Each member of Congress has political capital to spend. I intend to spend my political capital on the immigration issue by joining the Immigration Reform Caucus and working with like-minded members of Congress to sponsor and co-sponsor immigration reform related bills."
Analysis: Immigration is one of the third rails of American politics right now. And while Cannon and Chaffetz are similar in other areas, they are not similar on immigration.
Chris Cannon clearly favors amnesty for illegals. It would be a conditional earned amnesty, but it would still be an amnesty because it would prevent some illegals from being deported. This rewards bad behavior.
Jason Chaffetz clearly opposes amnesty. Yes, he would allow some illegals to obtain temporary work visas in order to complete a specific job or fulfill a time-phased contract, but at the end, out they'd go. This is the only way to deter future illegal immigration.
Cannon's support for traditional family values and energy exploitation is gratifying. Yet despite his presence in Congress, we've still not opened ANWR, and we've barely begin to explore serious oil shale development. On his campaign blog, Cannon states that oil shale could meet America's energy needs for the next 100 years. He correctly blames our current energy woes on the Democrats. But his influence is waning, and he's not committed to comprehensive reform. His opponent is committed to immigration reform.
There's only one choice for Third District Republicans on June 24th. Jason Chaffetz.