Immigration and immigration reform were hot topics at the New Hampshire debate preview for the 2016 GOP presidential primary. The Voters First Forum did not include Donald Trump, whose recent remarks about immigrants from Mexico have made serious waves throughout the world, but it did feature plenty of discussion along lines he had previously drawn.
For this first debate preview, the candidates avoided some of the harder questions about immigration, instead focusing on such initiatives as securing the border and limiting or otherwise changing the amount of legal immigration to the U.S. They also agreed the ultimate fate of 11 million undocumented immigrants has to wait until enforcement reverts back to what it was before the Obama administration’s immigration reform actions. Most candidates saw securing the border as a priority, while none spoke of mass deportations. The Associated Press noted Republicans need to appeal to Hispanic voters, who overwhelmingly prefer Democrats, and may have tempered their immigration messages for this reason.
As the presidential primaries progress, immigration and immigration reform will continue to be a topic of serious contention within the GOP and between all political parties in the U.S.