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Al Gore on Free Trade & Immigration

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 Nov 1, 2000

More Latin American trade, with labor & enviro protections

Q: Would you pursue a hemispheric trade deal extending the benefits of NAFTA to Central and South America and the Caribbean?

A: I am committed to enhancing our alliance and expanding trade with the countries of Latin America. Trade has been an important part of our economic expansion and creates high-paying jobs. As president, I will build on the work that the administration began when the U.S. hosted the first Summit of the Americas to promote hemispheric cooperation on a full spectrum of political, economic, security, and social issues. As we expand our trade agreements, we can achieve more based on what we have learned in the past seven years. I will insist that labor and environmental protections are included as part of future trade agreements.

Source: Associated Press Oct 31, 2000

Link trade to environment and labor

    Gore is clearly torn between his instinctive support of free trade and his need to win the support of unions. Gore:
  • wants to “continue to knock down the barriers to free and fair trade” (make countries open their doors to American products)
  • supports linking trade agreements to labor and environmental standards
  • wants to obtain “fast-track” negotiating authority that includes power to negotiate labor and environmental standards
  • supports making the WTO more open and accountable.
Source: The Economist, “Issues 2000” Sep 30, 2000

Fair trade: standards for child labor & environment

We must welcome and promote truly free trade. But I say to you: it must be fair trade. We must set standards to end child labor, to prevent the exploitation of workers and the poisoning of the environment. Free trade can and must be -- and if I’m President, will be -- a way to lift everyone up, not bring anyone down to the lowest common denominator.
Source: Speech to the Democratic National Convention Aug 18, 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: Aug 1, 2000

Agrees with unions on 90% of issues, but not on free trade

Asked about reverberations among unions [for his stance on agreesively pushing for China/WTO legislation], Gore replied: “Some of them have not yet endorsed me because of the fact that I’m in favor of this legislation. Others have endorsed me in spite of our disagreement on this legislation because I agree with them on 90% of the issues.” Still, on the campaign trail, Mr. Gore hardly mentions the trade agreement.
Source: Richard Berke & Katharine Seelye, Mar 11, 2000

Debate with Perot was instrumental in passing NAFTA

In the fall of 1993 the White House faced heavy opposition to NAFTA from labor and House Democrats. The opposition said the accord would accelerate the exodus of high-paying manufacturing jobs across the border. That point was made most vividly by Ross Perot, who predicted that it would produce a “giant sucking sound” made by the companies headed for Mexico. [In preparing for the televised debate with Perot, Gore] spotted a magazine photograph of the protectionist authors of the 1930 Smoots-Hawley tariff act, widely believed to have worsened the Depression, and during the debate Gore presented it to an irritated Perot. Gore also asked Perot about the free trade zone operated by Perot’s son at his Texas airport, which was promoted as a gateway to business in Mexico. “If it’s good enough for him, why isn’t it good enough for the rest of the country?” Gore asked. Gore’s strong performance and Perot’s meltdown changed the dynamic of the NAFTA debate. The pact passed the House 234-200.
Source: Inventing Al Gore, p.283-5 Mar 3, 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

Open Europe & Japan to genetically-modified farm products

Gore talked tough on farm policies, demanding that foreign markets be opened to genetically modified commodities. Europe and Japan resist those products. “We can’t let Europe and Japan determine our farm policy,” said Gore, who said “sound science” should govern.
Source: Associated Press in the Brockton (MA) Enterprise, p. A7 Jan 9, 2000

WTO talks will continue, with labor & environment input

On the collapse of the World Trade Organization talks in Seattle: These rounds are inherently difficult -- all the more so because most objective observers believe we do indeed need to integrate labor and environmental concerns more thoroughly into the fabric of trade negotiations. We’ll regroup and continue the process with some meetings next year.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 Dec 20, 1999

WTO requires Japan & Europe to deal with our trade issues

On developing nations’ resistance to the US agenda in Seattle: Europe’s not in favor of eliminating of having the Internet be a free-trade zone. Japan and others aren’t in favor of anti-dumping remedies. So none of these things are going to be easy. But when you say that developing countries aren’t in favor of labor protections, I’m not sure their people feel the same way.
Source: Interview in Business Week, p. 42-43 Dec 20, 1999

Open markets with safeguards for labor and environment

Gore defended his support of opening trade into new markets in a speech to Cleveland’s steel workers. “Some of you all disagree with me on the extent to which I’d like to see opening up of new markets,” Gore said. But Gore also told the workers that he agreed that labor and environmental issues should be part of international trade talks.
Source: Boston Globe, p. A34, “Political Briefs” Dec 14, 1999

Use Fast Track to encourage new markets

America must maintain its role as the world’s leader. Al Gore has repeatedly called for the passage of Fast Track trading authority, to allow the President to open more markets.. He has fought for a trading system that includes strong safeguards for workers, for health and safety, for children, and for a clean environment. And he has called on other nations -- such as Japan and the nations of Europe -- to jump-start their own economies, and live up to their shared responsibilities for global growth
Source: 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

Free and fair trade means economic growth and jobs

A champion of free and fair trade for his entire career, Gore has been a national leader in opening markets around the world, and tapping into the 96% of the world’s consumers who live outside our borders, while at the same time protecting labor and environmental rights. With one third of America’s growth due to exports in the past six years, and export-related jobs paying 12-18% more than other jobs, Gore has fought for free and fair trade to improve the lives and livelihoods of American families.
Source: 5/14/99 May 14, 1999

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

Protectionism only protects us from prosperity

All developed countries -- whether in Asia, Europe, or the Americas -- must play a role, and keep tearing down trade barriers. In the end, in this global economy, protectionism will only protect us from prosperity itself.
Source: Speech at APEC Business Summit Nov 16, 1998

  • Click here for 2 older quotations from Al Gore on Free Trade & Immigration.
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  • Click here for IssueMatch responses by Al Gore.
Other candidates on Free Trade & Immigration: Al Gore on other issues:
Pat Buchanan
George W. Bush
Al Gore
Ralph Nader

Minor Candidates:
Harry Browne
John Hagelin
David McReynolds
Howard Phillips

V.P. Candidates:
Dick Cheney
Ezola Foster
Winona LaDuke
Joe Lieberman

Alan Keyes
Bill Bradley
John McCain
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Juvenile Crime
School Choice
Social Security
Tax Reform
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