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.