Tonight is the first
of the three Presidential debates between incumbent President Obama and
challenger Mitt Romney. The conventional
wisdom is that Mr. Romney has to score some points in the debate in order to
close Mr. Obama's increasing lead in the polls.
The debate will take place in Colorado, a state that has
seen very high
levels of immigration in recent years.
Mitt Romney has endorsed President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood
Arrivals (DACA). DACA allows foreign
nationals who entered the US prior to their 16th birthday to obtain
working and traveling authorization, provided that they do not have a felony conviction
(or three misdemeanors) and are high school graduates or armed forces veteran. President Obama recently said that the
failure to pass positive immigration legislation may have been the biggest
failing of his first term in office.
Readers of this blog will be keen to see if the Presidential
candidates discuss employment-based immigration. House Republicans and Democrats have offered competing
versions of a similar STEM visa bill.
The STEM bill allows foreign-national graduates to have their green
cards on a fast-track.
There is a deal to be made between Democrats and Republicans
during the upcoming lame duck session.
The technology industry continues to put pressure on Congress to pass
the bill, which is generally popular with the public. If one of the candidates can show leadership
on this issue and raise it during the debate, it may foreshadow a serious and
credible candidate on immigration.