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GOP Debate: Candidates Grilled On Illegal Immigration Stances

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The first Republican presidential debate of the 2016 elections focused on the economy, the ongoing peace deliberations with Iran, and -- largely thanks to Donald Trump -- illegal immigration.

Moderator Chris Wallace started the topic off by challenging former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s recently-unveiled plan to halt the flow of undocumented immigrants coming into the United States illegally from Mexico. Specifically, Wallace asked Bush if he stood by a previous statement that indicated Bush’s understanding and compassion of illegal immigrants.

“I do. I believe that the great majority of people coming here illegally have no other option. They want to provide for their family,” Bush said. “We need to control our border. It’s our responsibility to pick and choose who comes in.”

Bush also explained the need for the federal government to keep track of those who have overstayed work visas and “be more strategic in how we deal with border enforcement.”

Bush also called for the elimination of “sanctuary cities,” which came to national prominence after the murder of Kate Steinle by an illegal immigrant that was living in San Francisco, California, as a protected citizen.

Wallace then questioned Donald Trump, who has become notoriously known over the last two months for his comments on the Mexican government. Trump repeatedly referenced evidence which allegedly proves that the foreign government is fueling the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States, but has yet to provide his sources. Wallace asked Trump to comment on the matter.

“So, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t even be talking about illegal immigration, Chris,” Trump said. “Many killings, murders, crime, drugs pouring in across the border, our money going out and the drugs coming in.

“ ... I was at the border last week. Border patrol - people that I deal with, that I talk to, they say this is happening because our leaders are stupid. Our politicians are stupid. And the Mexican government is much smarter and sharper, much more cunning."

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker used his time to explain his strategy on the issue.

“I would secure the border, enforce the law, no amnesty, and go forward with a legal immigration system that gives priority to American working families and wages," he said.

Florida Sen. Marco Rubio also weighed in on the manner, saying that “the evidence is now clear that the majority of people coming across the border are not from Mexico. They’re coming from Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras.”

Sources: NBC News, CBS News

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Fox News Screenshot


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