Each candidate’s position on how we should manage and pay for college, gleaned from their public statements on the issue.

Patrick Semansky/Associated Press

Hillary Clinton

Former US secretary of state

Clinton calls for a path to “full and equal citizenship” for those in the country illegally (HillaryClinton.com). She supports government-funded attorneys for unaccompanied minors and increasing funds for immigration court. (AP, Jan. 11)

“Our immigration enforcement efforts should be humane and conducted in accordance with due process, and that is why I believe we must stop the raids happening in immigrant communities.” (NBCNews.com, Jan. 11)

Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Getty

Martin O’Malley

Former governor of Maryland

O’Malley supports deferred action for many immigrant families here illegally, allowing them to get health insurance through the Affordable Care Act and overhauling the legal immigration system through a new independent agency. (martinomalley.com)


“A Christmas Refugee Roundup sounds like something @realDonaldTrump would concoct. Remember: Jesus was a refugee child who fled death gangs.” (@MartinOMalley, Dec. 24, 2015)

Scott Morgan/Reuters/REUTERS

Bernie Sanders

US Senator from Vermont

Sanders wants to allow immigrants in the country illegally to purchase health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, eliminate deportation programs, and overhaul the visa system. (BernieSanders.com)

“My view right now – and always has been – is that when you have 11 million undocumented people in this country, we need comprehensive immigration reform, we need a path toward citizenship, we need to take people out of the shadows.” (CNN Debate, Oct. 13, 2015)

Jae C. Hong/Associated Press/Associated Press

Jeb Bush

Former governor of Florida

Bush believes in a “rigorous path” to legal status for those in the country illegaly, including criminal background checks, learning English, paying fines and taxes. He adds this is a “non-starter” if the country does not secure its borders. (Jeb2016.com)

“That is the dignified, American way. The practical way of solving the problem of 12 million immigrants.” (CNN, Sept. 21, 2015)

Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald via Associated Press/Associated Press

Ben Carson

Retired neurosurgeon

Carson doesn’t list many specifics on his plans to improve the country’s immigration system, other than he supports visa enforcement and securing the border. (BenCarson.com)


“You also turn off the spigot that dispenses the goodies, so that people don’t have any incentive to come here. Then those who are here, we have to recognize that we can’t just round them up, but we can give them an opportunity to register.” (CBS’s Face the Nation, Sept. 13, 2015)

John Minchillo/Associated Press/Associated Press

Chris Christie

Governor of New Jersey

Christie advocates for border walls in urban areas, plus more agents and drones to monitor it. He believes every employer should use e-verify to confirm employee legal status, and the US should use biometric technology to keep track of those who overstay their visas. (ChrisChristie.com)

“At any moment, FedEx can tell you where that package is. It’s on the truck. It’s at the station. It’s on the airplane. Yet we let people come to this country with visas, and the minute they come in, we lose track of them.” (Reuters, Aug. 29, 2015)

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ted Cruz

US Senator from Texas

Cruz calls for securing the southern border, strengthening existing immigration laws and overhauling the legal immigration system (TedCruz.org). He has not said what the US should do with the 11 million people in the country illegally except saying he has “never supported legalization” (Politifact, Dec. 16, 2015).

“Let’s demonstrate we can stop illegal immigration, we can protect our national security interests, we can protect our law enforcement interests. Then once that’s done, we can have a conversation at that point about whatever people remain here illegally.” (MSNBC.com, Nov. 29, 2015)


Andrew Harnik/Associated Press/Associated Press

Carly Fiorina

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO

Fiorina wants to secure the border and improve the legal immigration system. She does not support a path to citizenship for those currently here illegally. (CarlyforAmerica.com)

“I’ve run the largest technology company in the world. Let me assure you we know how to build an employer verification system that would work. We can solve this. We just need to do it.” (Union Leader, July 12, 2015)


Jim Gilmore

Former governor of Virginia

He supports securing the borders and says those in the country illegally should not have a path to citizenship. (GilmoreforAmerica.com)

“There is no lawyer anywhere in America that misunderstands the Fourteenth Amendment: if you are born in the United States you are a natural-born citizen. ... It’s very dangerous to begin to tinker with who gets to be a citizen, who doesn’t get to be a citizen.”(MSNBC.com, April 24, 2015)

Sean Rayford/Associated Press/Associated Press

Mike Huckabee

Former governor of Arkansas

Huckabee has proposed rejecting Obama’s executive orders on immigration and securing the border, and he also wants to designate Mexican drug cartels as “foreign terrorist organizations.” (MikeHuckabee.com) He does support a pathway to citizenship for DREAMERS, immigrants who crossed the border as minors. (Washington Examiner, Jan. 28, 2015)

“I get on my knees every night and thank God I live in a country people are trying to break into, not out of. Are there some people who come here with nefarious goals? Yes. But I would never besmirch all the people who come here.” (Politico, July 5, 2015)


Seaen Rayford/Associated Press

John Kasich

Governor of Ohio

Kasich backs a pathway to legal status for those in the country illegally, as well as completing a fence along the southern border and starting a guest worker program. He’s backed away from an earlier vote that would have eliminated birthright citizenship (CBSNews.com, Aug. 10, 2015).

“If they’ve been law-abiding over a period of time, they ought to be legalized, and they ought to be able to stay here.” (CNN, Aug. 9, 2015)

Nati Hamik/Associated Press/Associated Press

Rand Paul

US Senator from Kentucky

Paul has proposed a “Trust but Verify” amendment that would require Congress to enforce its own border security blueprint, including security safeguards to track student visas holders and refugees, and incarceration for any visa overstays or illegal entrants. (RandPaul.com, TheWeek.com)

“We have to have a pause on immigration from the Middle East till we can get a handle on are we admitting people who want to attack and kill us? We have 150,000 students here from the Middle East. Do we know where they all are? Do we know they are in school? Do we know that they haven’t overstayed their visas?” (CNN, Dec. 7, 2015)

Scott Olson/Getty Images/Getty

Marco Rubio

US Senator from Florida

Rubio emphasizes economic growth as the top priority of his immigration platform, but he also supports additional investments in enforcement, including electronic monitoring and a tracking system for visa overstays. Immigrants here illegally but without a criminal record can apply for a temporary non-immigrant visa. (MarcoRubio.com)

“I know this issue. I know the good, the bad, the ugly. I know the story of people who are here illegally, and it would break your heart. And I know the story of people that are here legally, and their stories would boil your blood.” (New York Times, Jan. 14, 2016)


Andrew Hamik/Associated Press

Rick Santorum

Former US senator from Pennsylvania

Santorum supports a biometric tracking system for immigrants, requiring businessness to use e-verify to confirm employees’ legal status, and ending birthright citizenship. (RickSantorum.com)

“This is not anti-immigrant, this is pro-worker, especially for those who are most affected by waves of new workers – recent immigrants, minorities and younger workers.” (MSNBC.com, Aug. 20, 2015)

Michael Snyder/Associated Press/Associated Press

Donald Trump


Trump advocates for a wall across the southern border paid for by Mexico; enforcing existing immigration laws by tripling the number of immigration enforcement officials and implementing a nationwide e-verify system for employers; temporarily banning all travel for Muslims into the US. (DonaldJTrump.com)

“We’ll have a great wall. We’ll call it the Great Wall of Trump.” (Fox Business, Aug. 20, 2015)