The following information about candidates’ views on immigration is drawn from their respective parties’ platform pages, their campaign websites, their Facebook pages, or from statements their campaigns submitted to Amjambo Africa.
Maine’s ranked-choice voting (RCV) option will be in effect for U.S. Senate and House races, as well as the presidential race. With ranked choice, voters may select their first, second, and third choices. If no candidate receives more than 50% of the votes, the one with the least number of votes is dropped and the candidates ranked second on those ballots receive the vote. This continues until one candidate wins a majority, in a sort of “instant run-off.” In races without ranked choice, the winner is determined by a “plurality,” which means the candidate with the most votes, whether or not that number is over 50%. Some states later hold run-off elections to determine a majority winner. Maine is the first state to use ranked-choice voting for federal elections.
Democrats Joseph (Joe) Biden and Kamala Harris are running for president and vice president. The Democratic Party platform says, “Democrats believe immigration…is a defining aspect of the American character and our shared history….Democrats will continue to work toward comprehensive immigration reform that fixes our nation’s broken immigration system, improves border security, prioritizes enforcement so we are targeting criminals – not families, keeps families together, and strengthens our economy. Democrats know the importance of our country’s history as a nation of immigrants. We honor our fundamental values by treating all people who come to the United States with dignity and respect, and we always seek to embrace — not to attack — immigrants.”
Republicans Donald Trump and Michael (Mike) Pence are running for re-election for president and vice president. The Republican Party website says, “President Trump has kept his promise by securing our southern border and has taken steps to prevent violence and drugs from entering our country…. President Trump has taken significant measures to drive down illegal crossings on our southern border by collaborating with our southern neighbors…. The Trump administration has taken unprecedented steps to end human trafficking at home and around the world…. President Trump is fighting for American workers by ensuring they are not displaced by foreign workers.”
The “third-party” Alliance Party’s candidates are Roque (Rocky) De La Fuente for president and Darcy Richarson for vice president. The Alliance Party says, “As a nation of immigrants, we support legal immigration tied to the country’s economic needs and capacity to assimilate newcomers. We also support reasonable pathways to citizenship for those law-abiding persons in the country without legal residency status, and we support strong borders. We also believe in America’s moral obligation to help genuine asylum seekers. We affirm that part of the definition of self-government is the right of order to define who may and who may not become part of the nation.”
Running on the Green Party ticket are Howard (Howie) Hawkins for president and Angela Nicole Walker for vice president. The Green Party’s immigration platform says, “Close the Camps. Reunite families. Legalize and normalize status. Defend sanctuary cities. Abolish ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] and BCP and create a new agency to administer Open Borders, like within the EU [European Union].”
The ballots will include Libertarian Party candidates Jo Jorgensen for president and Jeremy Cohen for vice president. The party website says, “While the ethnicities and countries of origin have changed, the American legacy of what immigration is supposed to be remains the same: different cultures held together by the values of inclusion and acceptance; a shining city upon a hill welcoming the tired, poor, and huddled masses….Immigrants are a positive for the United States. The data is clear: Immigrants commit less crime and consume less in government benefits than native-born Americans, and this generation of immigrants has assimilated at a quicker rate than any prior group….Even some of the lowest estimates figure that the world would be $78 trillion richer with open and free immigration across all borders, a doubling of global income….The United States should symbolize a helping hand to those in need and build bridges instead of walls.”
For the July issue, Amjambo Africa asked then-primary candidates for Maine’s federal offices for their views on immigration, which are summarized below for Sen. Susan Collins and her Democratic challenger Sara Gideon. The other answers are from party or candidate websites, Facebook pages, or statements from the campaigns.
In the U.S. Senate race, Susan Collins, a Republican, is running for re-election. She said, “I have noted on many occasions that the situation on the southern border is broken, and the arrival of hundreds of asylum seekers in Portland – nearly 2,500 hundred miles from the Rio Grande – underscores this fact. It’s clear that we need comprehensive immigration reform, stronger border security, a better way of handling asylum claims, more immigration judges, a sensible system for guest workers, and a long-term solution for the young people we call the ‘DREAMERS.’ ”
Challenging Sen. Collins for the U.S. Senate seat is Sara Gideon, a Democrat who is Speaker of the Maine House of Representatives. Gideon said, “As the daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, I believe strongly in America’s responsibility to welcome immigrants and refugees….I’ve fought for immigrants and asylum seekers because I believe they enrich our state and strengthen our economy and workforce….At the federal level, we need comprehensive immigration reform, and we need to focus on making sure that we create a fair path to citizenship…while also making sure that we keep our borders secure and our country safe….We also need to rethink what our immigration court system looks like so that no family is separated or feels unsafe while they’re waiting for their hearings.”
Independent Max Linn is also running for the Senate seat. In a recent Facebook broadcast, he said he supports a five-year moratorium on immigration and a comprehensive immigration plan that introduces over $100 Billion in new tax revenue, including documentation of all illegal immigrants, merit-based immigration, and reform of the system that allows companies to encourage immigrants to take jobs at low wages out of fear of deportation.
The other independent Senate candidate on the ballot, Lisa Savage, has this statement on her website under the “Freedom and Equality” heading: “Expand women’s rights, Protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination. Defend indigenous rights and lands. Create a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants. Protect the free Internet. Legalize marijuana/hemp and treat substance abuse as a public health problem, not a criminal problem.”
In Maine’s First Congressional District, Republican candidate Jay Allen is challenging Congresswoman Chellie Pingree for the seat. A statement from Allen on his views about immigration was not available by press time.
First District Rep. Chellie Pingree, a Democrat, is running for re-election. Her website says, “I strongly believe we should streamline legal immigration and promote naturalization for those who qualify, including parents of U.S. citizens, young people who have been in the U.S. for at least five years, and students and entrepreneurs, while also keeping families together who have lived in the United States for years. It is well past time that we re-examine our immigration process to ensure that those who want to immigrate legally have the opportunity to do so, while protecting the rights of American workers, defending our national security, and enforcing the laws that are already in place.”
Republican Dale Crafts is challenging Congressman Jared Golden for Maine’s Second District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. His website says, “Welcoming new citizens into the United States strengthens our society and broadens our ability to accomplish great things. However, any sovereign nation has a right and an obligation to protect its borders from those who enter illegally. In order to reduce the number of illegal immigrants in our country, we first must enforce the laws that already exist….We must work to strengthen and reform our immigration laws, making them more effective and efficient. In order to do this, we must secure our border by building a physical wall, as well as, electronic surveillance. We should also ensure that illegal immigrants are not receiving any of the benefits that belong to American citizens.”
Second District Rep. Jared Golden is a Democrat running for re-election. He said, “Congressman Jared Golden knows America’s immigration system is broken. He believes our country needs comprehensive immigration reform that is fairer and more humane, maintains strong border security, and fixes loopholes that allow corporations to exploit our visa system while workers get left behind. He voted to pass the No Ban Act through the House, which would forbid discrimination based on religion in American immigration policy, and he will continue to stand up to discrimination in all forms.”