Amistad Dam. (Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr)

Immigration and border security are key issues in every election, and the upcoming 2022 midterm elections are no exception. With the elections approaching, this contentious political issue is once again brought to the forefront as a topic for every candidate to tackle. 

Across the political spectrum, candidates see immigration and border security as an area in which reform is necessary. Whether this entails expanding border security and tightening restrictions or providing more accessible, efficient pathways to citizenship, many candidates are taking a stance on the issue and incorporating policy goals into their campaigns and political agendas. Candidates across the political spectrum seem to agree that change is necessary, yet differ on the type of changes and how they should be implemented.

AllSides has taken to examining where these candidates stand and what each is saying in regards to the hot-button topic of immigration. Let’s take a look at some of the races.

Senate Elections

North Carolina

Cheri Beasley (D)

“Cheri supports comprehensive immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who are already in our country, invests in securing our borders, treats people with dignity and respect, and ensures safety for everyone.”

Cheri Beasley believes it is time to reform the immigration system in the United States. Beasley recognizes and appreciates the role immigrants have played in our country both economically and culturally and feels as though it is time for change. Beasley’s plans include providing a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants already in the U.S., reducing wait times for immigration, upgrading visa programs, and creating an efficient and effective asylum process for refugees. She also stands behind DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) and believes in protecting the program. As a whole, Beasley feels the immigration system must be reformed to better serve and respect immigrants while keeping our borders secure.


Ted Budd (R)

Before we do anything else, we must secure our Southern Border with Mexico. I’ve visited the border and seen the sorry state of our patchwork of physical barriers. I’ve spoken with border patrol agents who asked for our help. We need to build a wall and keep drugs and dangerous criminals out of our country, period…We need to draw a clear line between legal and illegal immigration. We want folks to come into our country the right way, based on merit. Our country must still be a land of opportunity, but only for those who come to our shores the legal, American way.”

Ted Budd believes in securing our borders. He is endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council and opposes Biden’s policies regarding the Southern border, citing them as a contributing source to human trafficking and opioid use. He supports building a wall, increasing resources for border agents, and legislation including Kate’s Law and the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act. 

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Florida

Val Demings (D)

“Immigration reform to protect DREAMers, Florida farmers, TPS recipients, and essential workers is critical for our economy and our future.”


Val Demings supports immigration reform to better protect immigrants in our nation. She feels immigrants are critical to the economy and has voted in favor of giving DACA recipients a path to citizenship. 

Marco Rubio (R, Incumbent)

“America should always welcome immigrants who want to become Americans. But we need laws that decide who and how many people can come here, and those laws must be followed and enforced.”

Marco Rubio believes in keeping our borders secure. He is adamant about upholding and enforcing immigration laws and has criticized Biden’s policies regarding border security, voicing they encourage illegal immigration that threatens our nation. He also voted against giving DACA recipients a path to citizenship.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Arizona

Mark Kelly (D, Incumbent)

“The federal government has spent billions of dollars on border security over decades and we still have a crisis. We need a safe process that treats migrants fairly, but that is also safe for law enforcement.”

As we wait for the Supreme Court to rule on the future of the DACA program, I stand with Dreamers. The goal must be to end any uncertainty and provide Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship.”

As a Senator in a border state, Mark Kelly supports protecting our borders while maintaining a safe and humane process. Kelly has urged the Biden administration to direct more focus to immigration and border security to safeguard immigrants, border patrol, and our communities alike.

Blake Masters (R)

“In the U.S. Senate, I will oppose granting U.S. citizenship to those who come to America illegally, and I will oppose every underhanded and ill-conceived mass amnesty proposal the Democrats try to sneak into unrelated Senate bills.”

Blake Masters is taking a strong stance on immigration and using the issue as a key aspect of his campaign strategy and messaging. He has criticized both Joe Biden and Mark Kelly for not doing enough to secure the borders and the subsequent widespread illegal immigration that has come as a result. He supports tightening restrictions and increasing staffing and resources to increase security on the southern border.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Colorado

Michael Bennet (D, Incumbent)

As of today, 14,586 Dreamers have lost their DACA status. Finding a bipartisan solution for Dreamers should be a top priority on our first day back in session in the new year.”

Michael Bennet’s campaign website highlights his dedication to “fighting for comprehensive immigration reform that keeps families together.” Bennet feels our current system is broken and has already contributed to crafting solutions, including joining the “Gang of Eight” bipartisan senator group to compose a sweeping immigration reform bill that successfully passed in 2013. He supports a path to citizenship for Dreamers.

Joe O’Dea (R)

“First we must secure our border to address the flow of fentanyl into our communities and the humanitarian crisis that Biden keeps ignoring. Period. Then we must find a pathway to citizenship for our Dreamers and streamline our immigration process.”

Joe O’Dea supports strengthening border security, including finishing construction of the wall on the southern border. He also supports finding a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients. 

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

 

Gubernatorial Elections

Texas

Beto O’Rourke (D)

“As a fourth generation border resident who is raising my three children in El Paso, guaranteeing safety and security at our border is at the top of my priorities. Texas should be THE leader in building a safe, legal, orderly immigration system that meets the needs of our state and country. No state has more to gain or lose.”

Beto O’Rourke believes in finding safe, innovative, and bipartisan solutions to immigration and border security. He advocates for increasing smart technology at the border including sensors, drones, and surveillance towers to assist border security. He believes in combatting illegal immigration by providing more accessible legal pathways to immigration and reforming our family reuinification system. He believes in providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients.

Greg Abbott (R, Incumbent)

“The Biden-Harris Administration continues ignoring and denying the historic crisis at our southern border, which has endangered and overwhelmed Texas communities for almost two years…Texas will continue sending migrants to sanctuary cities like Washington, D.C. until President Biden and Border Czar Harris step up and do their jobs to secure the border.”

Greg Abbott believes strongly in securing our border and cracking down on immigration policy and implementation. Abbott has taken many actions to increase border security including launching Operation Lone Star and busing migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City and Chicago. He signed a law banning sanctuary cities in the state and empowering the state to penalize cities that do not cooperate with federal immigration law. He is seen as taking one of the strictest stances on immigration and border security throughout the races.

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

New Mexico

Michelle Lujan Grisham (D, Incumbent)

“We need comprehensive immigration reform that eliminates backlogs, reunites families and meets the demands of our nation’s economy today and into the future. Any immigration legislation must reflect our values—and that means addressing the needs of women and families.”

Michelle Lujan Grisham supports immigration reform to create a more efficient and humane path to citizenship for individuals and families. She ordered the withdrawal of the majority of National Guard troops from New Mexico’s southern border and rejected Trump’s rhetoric that the border is the site of a national security crisis. She similarly does not support the building of a wall. Lujan Grisham supports creating a path to citizenship for both DACA recipients and others.

Mark Ronchetti (R)

“I oppose amnesty because it incentivizes even more illegal immigration…Our borders are not secure enough and we need a barrier, more staffing or increased air patrol for a more secure border. We are the drug superhighway into the U.S. and sanctuary cities in New Mexico exacerbate our crime problems. Congress has kicked the can down the road long enough.”

Mark Ronchetti takes a strong stance on the issue of border security and tightening regulations on immigration. His campaign website outlines his plans to eliminate sanctuary policies, deploy the National Guard to the Southern border, and remove policies he views as encouraging illegal immigration such as stimulus checks to these individuals. Further, Ronchetti plans to add a Border Strike Force to the State’s Department of Public Safety to combat border-related criminal activity. 

See more on the candidates in this race from our friends at guides.vote.

Arizona

Katie Hobbs (D)

“It’s past time for Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform that addresses both our current crises and our future challenges. We need to secure our border, prevent criminals and traffickers from entering the country, and end the chaos and lawlessness we’ve watched for decades. But let’s also recognize the very real and devastating humanitarian crisis that’s at our doorstep. And no comprehensive immigration reform plan is complete without legislation to give DREAMers the stability and certainty they deserve and a path to citizenship.”

Katie Hobbs feels the issue of immigration and border security has been dominated by politics rather than real solutions and meaningful discourse. She believes that widespread reform is necessary both in terms of increasing border security and prioritizing a humane, safe, and accessible pathway to citizenship, especially for DACA recipients. She believes in reducing illegal immigration by creating a “tough but fair” road to citizenship that incentivizes individuals to enter the country in this manner. Hobbs feels changes need to be made at both the state and federal levels and that doing so will both strengthen the economy and reflect American values.

Kari Lake (R)

“As the Biden administration and federal lawmakers refuse to pursue and enact the federal policies necessary to secure the southern border, it is self-evident that states must boldly step into this breach and do what Washington D.C. simply will not: protect the citizens of Arizona and finally put an end to the violence, chaos, and human misery caused by our unsecured border with Mexico. As governor, I will do precisely that. I will act boldly and aggressively to bring an end to our border crisis starting on day one.”

Kari Lake feels strongly about strengthening border security. She describes the current state of the border as “nothing less than a national security and humanitarian disaster.” She cites this as the cause of drugs and violence entering the United States and endangering communities. She criticizes the Biden Administration for not doing enough to combat this crisis and vows to do more should she be elected as Governor. Her plans include the creation of an interstate compact for border security, finishing the wall on the Southern border, expanding the Arizona Rangers, increasing National Guard personnel and granting them removal authority, deporting criminals, creating a special border court, increasing communications with government leaders in Mexico, and more to increase regulations and restrictions at the border. She is steadfast and determined in these efforts.

 

House Elections

New Mexico

District 2

Gabriel Vasquez (D)

For far too long, undocumented families and workers have been used as political pawns in a broken immigration system that Congress refuses to address. We must pass comprehensive immigration reform that will treat people humanely, address the root causes of asylum seekers and keep our border safe and secure.”

Gabriel Vasquez supports immigration reform to keep the border safe and secure while prioritizing humane and accessible practices. Vasquez shares on his campaign website that he has lived on both sides of the US-Mexico border and therefore has a firsthand understanding of our immigration system. He supports providing a pathway to citizenship for DACA recipients and other hard-working individuals and families.

Yvette Herrell (R, Incumbent)

“We have welcomed those who seek to be a part of this great American experiment as long as they respect our culture and laws. Ultimately, however, the purpose of our nation’s immigration system is to benefit the citizens of our country and I will only support immigration policies that benefit Americans as a whole. However, a nation of law and order cannot allow individuals to bypass its borders or abuse the system to remain in the country. We need to secure our southern border, stand with Border Patrol, and protect the families and communities who call the border region home.”

Yvette Herrell supports tighter border security. She criticizes Biden’s border policies for leaving the Southern border increasingly vulnerable to illegal immigration and the smuggling of drugs. She supports building a wall in addition to implementing more advanced technology to assist personnel at the border. She has both sponsored and co-sponsored a number of bills with these goals in mind.

California

District 22

Rudy Salas (D)

“I fully support the children that have grown up in this country and are working hard to live the American Dream. It is time for congress to enact immigration reform and do what's right for these American children and their families who are on a path to citizenship.”

Rudy Salas believes the American immigration system is in need of reform. He believes in providing a fair pathway to citizenship, especially for DACA recipients.

David G. Valadao (R, Incumbent)

“As the son of immigrants, immigration is a topic close to my heart. Immigration is a complex issue and it is time for a comprehensive approach to reform. Our current immigration system is broken, and it must be fixed. For too long, extremes on either side of the aisle have discouraged real and meaningful discussion regarding immigration. I believe it is time to act on this pressing issue.  It is the responsibility of those in Congress to implement fair and balanced legal immigration policies while continuing to combat illegal immigration.”

David G. Valadao supports immigration reform to offer a fair pathway to citizenship, especially for those already living within the country. He is especially passionate about providing a pathway for Dreamers and co-sponsored the Recognizing America’s Children Act. He also supports the development of a guest worker program to aid the agriculture industry and local economies.

Texas

District 15

Michelle Vallejo (D)

“Whether you were born here or moved here, you become a South Texan when you work hard and leave things better for those to come. South Texans welcome newcomers. We share meals with our family and neighbors, regardless of citizenship status. We make our region more just and livable for all when we unite across differences. Everyone deserves the same opportunity to work hard and earn a better life for their families.”

Michelle Vallejo supports immigration reform that will provide a fair, humane pathway to citizenship while protecting our borders. She supports protecting the legal right to seek asylum for individuals and recognizes that border infrastructure and personnel must be bolstered to ensure the border has the resources it needs to make this possible. She also believes in passing a pathway to citizenship for hard working individuals already inside our borders and outside alike.

Monica De La Cruz (R)

“Well, I like to divide immigration into two areas. There’s the illegal immigration issue and the national security issue. So, they’re two different issues. On the national security issue, number one, we need to deploy more boots to be in the field for Border Patrol agents. We need to put these boots in the field, not in administration positions. We need to hire more Border Patrol agents and ensure they’re in the field and not in administration positions. We need to end the “catch and release” program because that’s truly incentivizing people from all over the world to enter our country illegally. It gives the perception that our borders are open. We need to have the “Remain in Mexico” policy, but with the same parameters as in the Trump administration–with no limits on who can be enrolled in the MPP program. So, we need to do that and continue the Title 42 program.”

Monica De La Cruz places immigration and border security high on her list of priorities. She believes the border needs to be more secure. She highlights various policies she supports to that end on her campaign website, including bringing back the “Remain in Mexico” policy, ending “Catch and Release,” finishing the wall on the Southern border, bolstering support for Border Patrol, Customs and ICE, hiring more immigration judges, and supporting E-Verify for employment.

District 28

Henry Cuellar (D, Incumbent)

The House has passed the Dream and Promise Act, legislation that I cosponsored, twice. I now call on my colleagues in the Senate to secure a permanent pathway to citizenship for all DREAMers—to end the constant state of uncertainty that these vital members of our society live in every day. In addition, we need a bipartisan comprehensive immigration approach to solve the challenges at our border. I call on my friends and colleagues—in both parties—to acknowledge the challenges at the border and work together to create comprehensive, effective legislation addressing these challenges.”

Henry Cuellar supports immigration reform to fix the flaws of our current immigration system. He opposes the building of a wall on the Southern border and instead advocates for more modern, innovative border technology to bolster infrastructure as well as increasing salaries of border personnel. He believes federal, state, and local law enforcement need to work together to combat criminal border activity. Cuellar has been involved with border security and immigration reform legislation throughout his career in a number of ways. He served on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, wrote the Prosperous and Secure Neighbor Alliance Act, and continues to host annual border security roundtable discussions with elected officials, law enforcement, and interest groups.

Cassy Garcia (R)

​​”No, it’s not time to end Title 42! There is a crisis on our southern border & the Biden Admin has no plan, no strategy or solution to secure our border! We need the Biden Administration to enforce the laws on the books and bring back the Trump-era border policies that worked!”

Cassy Garcia believes in tightening border restrictions and thinks our current system falls short. Garcia has criticized the Biden Administration for their policies and advocates for policies more similar to those under the Trump Administration, including building a wall along the Southern border.


Rose Mercer is a Content and Research Intern at AllSides. She has a Lean Left bias.

This blog was reviewed and edited by Henry A. Brechter, Managing Editor (Center bias).

Image Credit: Jonathan McIntosh/Flickr