Carly Fiorina: No Path to Citizenship for those Who Came to U.S. Illegally

The former HP executive draws a line in the sand on immigration.

FAITH AND FREEDOM SUMMIT

Carly Fiorina speaks during the Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition presidential forum in Waukee, Iowa, on April 25, 2015.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

If Carly Fiorina becomes president, the immigrants currently in the country illegally would face an additional hurdle in their quest for U.S. citizenship. 

During a wide-ranging interview with Yahoo's Katie Couric, the former Hewlett-Packard CEO was asked if she favored providing a path to citizenship for the roughly 11 million immigrants in the country illegally. 

"I do not. Not for those who came here illegally and who have stayed here illegally," said Fiorina, who announced her candidacy for the Republican nomination earlier in the day. 

Unlike former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, all of whom have expressed some degree of openness to creating a framework that would allow undocumented immigrants to eventually obtain citizenship, Fiorina said she would draw the line at offering "legal status." 

"Half the people here illegally came on a legal visa–we just never bothered to follow up," Fiorina said. "But for those who came here illegally and stayed here illegally, I think they may earn legal status over time, but not citizenship, because I know too many people, as do you, who worked to earn the right of citizenship, the privilege of citizenship, and I think we're fair-minded people."

Like most candidates in the growing GOP presidential field, Fiorina also emphasized the need to secure the U.S. borders with Mexico and Canada. 

"It's not rocket science to do it, we just haven't done it, northern borders and southern borders," Fiorina said. "I think we need to fix the legal immigration system, which has been broken for decades, under both Republicans and Democrats. You know we talk about it but somehow it never gets done."

Asked about support for the Dream Act, which would establish permanent U.S. residency for the children of immigrants brought to the country by their parents under the age of 16, Fiorina again emphasized that border security should take priority. 

"In California, I supported the Dream Act because I think that you cannot punish children who came here through no will of there own as young children, but I also think we have the cart backwards, when we pass something called the Dream Act before we've even secured the border all we're doing is making the problem worse," Fiorina said. "And also, we corrode peoples' faith in government. Folks out there say, you know what, the federal government's first job, honestly, is to protect the nation and secure the border, why don't you secure the border, you could, we should, we haven't." 

While neither Couric nor Fiornia discussed the costs of securing both the northern and southern borders, a 2013 report by Bloomberg found that maintaining border security with Mexico would cost $28 billion per year.

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