Complete responses of 3rd Congressional District candidate Chris Cannon to the Deseret Morning News questionnaire:
1. The House recently passed a bill to crack down on illegal immigration through tighter border security and tougher enforcement. Do you think this bill alone would be effective? Why or why not?
To answer that question effectively a number of variables such as recent reports that half of the 11 million illegals in the country are not border jumpers but rather people who have over-stayed their visas have to be taken into account. Yes, the House passed legislation will help, but it will not solve the entire problem facing our nation. The only way to prevent the problems associated with our current system is to scrap the immigration code and begin with a new system for immigrants who would like to come here legally through a guest worker program that allows us to track individuals so they cannot over stay illegally and melt into their surroundings without anyone knowing.
2. The Senate recently passed a bill that, along with enforcement, would grant many of the nation's estimated 12 million illegal immigrants an eventual path to citizenship, along with creating new pathways for immigration. Do you think this bill alone would be effective? Why?
The Senate bill has some major problems besides the immediate path to citizenship. It has provisions related to prevailing wage and future Social Security payments for work done while people were illegal in status. I declined to cosponsor the House version of the Senate bill because of the numerous unintended consequences associated with the bill. Those provisions need to be changed and will be changed if we are to have an effective comprehensive immigration bill. The citizenship plan alone is not effective because it deals only with those who are here and not those who may come in the future. We need the border security and interior enforcement provisions of the House bill, and we absolutely need to learn from the mistakes of the past and deploy a new temporary guest worker program so those who will come here in the future are dealt with in a different manner than they are today.
3. What are the top three elements needed for an effective immigration reform?
I think there are four legs to a secure and workable immigration reform: border security, interior enforcement, tools for business compliance, and a workable guest worker program to allow for labor needs to be met legally.
4. President Bush has added National Guard troops to patrol the border with Mexico. What will be the most effective tools for securing the border, troops, walls, technology, and what should be done first?
Again, I don't believe any one action will be the answer. They all need to be deployed in a coordinated fashion. It is imperative we build a physical wall in certain areas, but technology is the ultimate answer. Today, a physical fence provides a deterrent, but it is not the only deterrent because a 21-foot ladder scales a 20-foot fence. With technology we can monitor border incursions and send the border patrol to the exact spot of an illegal crossing. Technology will be the best protection along our border but physical fences will help direct the flow into the areas that can be most effectively monitored by technology.
5. What is your definition of amnesty?
My definition is from the MERRIAM-WEBSTER'S DICTIONARY: the act of an authority (as a government) by which PARDON is granted to a large group of individuals. The same dictionary defines pardon as: 1 : Indulgence. 2 : the excusing of an offense without exacting a penalty. This definition was used in the legislative process in 1986 during consideration of the last immigration reform law and in the 1970s when President Carter granted amnesty to those who dodged the Vietnam draft. Both of those bills were called amnesty because they provided no penalty for breaking the law.
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