Did the presidential candidates forget about illegal immigration?

If you watched Tuesday night’s presidential debate on Bloomberg TV, you were probably left wondering how a two-hour debate about the economy with 8 participants could pass without a single candidate uttering the word ‘immigration.’

If you missed it, Fox News Latino summarizes the evening for you: “The word ‘immigration’ never came up – not by the moderator, PBS’s Charlie Rose. Not by the reporters. Not by the candidates themselves, either in their answers to questions or when they got a chance to ask one of their rivals a question on anything they wanted”

What the candidates and moderators do not seemed to have grasped is that the immigration debate is an economic debate. FAIR’s latest cost study on illegal immigration finds that “the cost of harboring illegal immigrants in the United States is a staggering $113 billion a year — an average of $1,117 for every ‘native-headed’ household in America.”

An economy saddled with this type of prohibitive cost in the face of a recession and without a true commitment to enforcing our immigration laws is not on the road to recovery. Put simply, with the average household in America bearing an annual burden of $1,117.00 because of illegal immigration, any talk about taxes, spending, and economic recovery must include real discussion about immigration enforcement and border security. In leaving out immigration, the candidates missed an important opportunity to draw this connection for the American public and distinguish themselves on the issue.

Over the next few weeks, we will be posting individual profiles of the Republican candidates, what they’ve said about immigration, and how much illegal immigration is costing their respective states. Check back for those updates!

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