An estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants are living and often working in the United States. Figuring out what to do with them has confounded Washington for years.
Lax enforcement could mean more illegal immigrants competing with citizens and legal immigrants for jobs and some social services. A too-tight policy could mean farmers and others in industries that rely on the cheaper labor of illegal immigrants are left begging for workers, passing higher costs on to everyone else or going out of business.
Obama backed the DREAM Act, a failed bill that would have provided a path to legal status for many young illegal immigrants. In June, Obama decided to allow as many as 1.7 million of them to stay for up to two years. Romney supports completing a fence at the Mexican border and other tough security measures while pledging to veto the DREAM Act. He'd honor the work permits of those who obtained them under Obama.
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