Al Gore on Immigration

2000 Democratic Nominee for President; Former Vice President


English is our language, but “English-Only” divides us

Q: Should English be made the country’s official language?

A: I believe that all of our people should have the opportunity to learn English, so that they can succeed and reach their fullest potential. However, I oppose ‘English only’ proposals. Everyone knows that English is the language of the United States. ‘English only’ laws only seek to divide our nation, which has a long history of immigration by people who speak many languages.“

Source: Associated Press on 2000 presidential race , Nov 1, 2000

Citizenship for 1.2M cleared backlog, but sacrificed quality

One of Gore’s attempts to improve government produced such confusion that thousands of people became citizens without adequate background checks, the Justice Dept. says in a new report, and “compromised the integrity” of the INS process. [But] the report said there is no evidence that the 1996 election motivated the crash program.

Under the crash “Citizenship USA” program, a part of Gore’s government reinvention effort, about 1.2 million people were given citizenship from Oct. 1995 to Sept. 1996, [with the intent of] eliminating a massive backlog of nearly 500,000 citizenship cases at INS. The waiting period for citizenship had been as much as three years.

The investigators found that the crash program put quantity over quality. The INS had processed applicants so quickly that in many cases citizenship was granted before the INS received criminal background checks from the FBI. But the report said there was no way to determine how many unqualified individuals gained citizenship.

Source: CNN.com coverage , Aug 1, 2000

More immigrants to alleviate labor shortage

Q: Now that we have a shortage of workers, do you think we should open our doors to more immigrants?
A: Yes, I think that we should allow more immigrants to come in. We are a nation of immigrants and with pride. It is what has made us a great nation. All of us, save the Native Americans, need only count back the generations to find when our families immigrated here or when they were brought here in chains.
Source: Democrat debate in Los Angeles , Mar 1, 2000

Immigrants from communist Cuba are different

Q: Under what is known as the wet-foot-dry-foot law, a Cuban who makes it to US soil can stay. Do you think that this law should be expanded to include other groups? A: I think that Communist dictatorships are treated differently for a legitimate reason.
Source: Democrat Debate in Des Moines, Iowa , Jan 17, 2000

Immigration leads to diversity and cultural tolerance

[America is] not a “melting pot” that dissolved all differences - but a [place where we] overcame ethnic and religious differences. With each wave of immigrants, we have become not only more diverse - but also more open and equal; not only culturally richer - but also spiritually stronger. Now, in our present time, we can say with pride that we are not only the most diverse multi-ethnic society in human history, but also the nation with the strongest and most enduring common values.
Source: Speech on 50th Anniversary of NATO, Ellis Island, NY , Apr 21, 1999

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Other past presidents on Immigration: Al Gore on other issues:
Former Presidents:
Barack Obama(D,2009-2017)
George W. Bush(R,2001-2009)
Bill Clinton(D,1993-2001)
George Bush Sr.(R,1989-1993)
Ronald Reagan(R,1981-1989)
Jimmy Carter(D,1977-1981)
Gerald Ford(R,1974-1977)
Richard Nixon(R,1969-1974)
Lyndon Johnson(D,1963-1969)
John F. Kennedy(D,1961-1963)
Dwight Eisenhower(R,1953-1961)
Harry S Truman(D,1945-1953)

Past Vice Presidents:
V.P.Joseph Biden
V.P.Dick Cheney
V.P.Al Gore
V.P.Dan Quayle
Sen.Bob Dole

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Page last updated: Feb 21, 2022