Heyward Haltiwanger has nothing against immigrants. But he vehemently opposes immigrants who come to the United States illegally.
“The United States is a nation of immigrants,” said Haltiwanger, who traces his family’s roots in South Carolina back to the early 18th century.
“Illegal. That is the key word. If they are legal and they are participating in society, they are as welcome as anyone else,” said Haltiwanger, a 67-year-old retired auto mechanic from Chapin, S.C. “Illegal is breaking the law.”
His attitude is frequently echoed by supporters of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential front-runner whose tough stance against illegal immigration has made it a key issue this campaign season and helped rocket him to the front of the GOP field.
Regardless of who wins the White House, the election could be decisive regarding the nation’s broken immigration system.The winner will be able to either push for reforms that bring out of the shadows the estimated 11.3 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States — as the Democratic candidates have promised — or order their deportation en masse, as Trump and fellow Republican Ted Cruz have vowed.
The next president also will have to address border security and the legal immigration system, either by pursuing enforcement – and restriction-heavy policies aimed at reducing the overall number of immigrants admitted into the U.S. or by pushing reforms that create more opportunities for low-skilled and high-skilled immigrants to enter legally.
Trump has driven the debate with intemperate comments about Mexicans and a promise to build a massive border wall at Mexico’s expense. In the process he has pushed his Republican rivals to take harder stances on the issue to appeal to their party’s most passionate voters.
By Daniel González and Dan Nowick for USA Today
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