The first and only vice presidential of the 2016 election cycle is upon us. Tim Kaine will face off against Mike Pence on Oct. 4 at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. While it's not exactly the highly anticipated showdown that was the Hillary Clinton vs Donald Trump debate, it's still a great way to get to know the VP candidates. There are a lot of important issues on the table this election, such as the refugee crisis and rising student loans that could make or break a candidate. Every last thing Trump or Clinton says or does is scrutinized to the nth degree, whereas much less is known about their running mates. Kaine, for example, has broken out his Spanish language skills at a few different campaign stops since being announced as Clinton's running mate to great surprise. There are some who might cry foul, of course, believing the Democratic nominees are shamelessly pandering to the Latino vote in a time where immigration reformation is a much debated topic in our country. But it's Kaine's stance on immigration, which is similar to his running mate's, that proves he's dedicated to bringing reform along side Clinton in their first 100 days in office.
Sen. Kaine's support for immigration reform is nothing new. Throughout his career, he has taken steps toward improving our country's flawed immigration laws. One simply has to look back through his career to see that he has long been a proponent for the immigrant community. He is an avid supporter of the DREAM Act, which is an acronym for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors; This act aims to assist undocumented immigrants, who were brought to the United States as children, in getting temporary and subsequently permanent residency in the country.
According to the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire, Kaine believes America's resistance to reform immigration policy is holding us back from further advancements in the math and science markets. "We want youngsters who are in this country not to be locked into underachievement, but to be overachievers," Kaine said in a small-business roundtable discussion in Rosslyn, Virginia. "They'll create more opportunities for others if they can have that status."
The DREAM Act is not the only legislation Kaine supports. He has publicly shown support for President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) initiative. On the third anniversary of the initiatives inception, according to the Augusta Free Press, Kaine said the program has "allowed young people to contribute to our communities, live without constant fear of deportation, keep families together and provide economic and education opportunities for these young recipients."
Kaine has also not been shy about admonishing those who starkly work against comprehensive immigration reform. In 2010 he spoke out against Arizona's anti-immigration measure SB 1070, which was the broadest anti-immigration measure produced in America for a considerable amount of time, while working as Chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He supported the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act, otherwise known as S. 744, which was a historic, bipartisan immigration reform bill passed in 2013, and the last time any form immigration reform was passed.
Kaine did not support S. 744 quietly. The Los Angeles Times reported that Kaine was only five months into his term as a Virginia Senator when he delivered a a 14-minute speech in Spanish on the Senate floor to argue for bipartisan immigration reform.
Kaine has continued to voice his support for immigration reform while out on the campaign trail with Clinton. Just like with his spectacular 2013 speech, he's been doing it in Spanish, as well. In a recent appearance on Telemundo, Kaine detailed how he and Clinton would be able to put immigration reform on the table in a significant way during their first 100 days in office:
In the Senate, we have a bipartisan agreement on reforming the system, still. And many of my Republican colleagues are saying that after January, we have to get this reform done, finally. There’s a good number of my Republican colleagues in the Senate who are supporters. In the House of Representatives, it’s a little different, right? But Paul Ryan, the Speaker, understands numbers. He understands votes. November is going to be a sign, a very clear message about the will of the voters. If Hillary is president, her support for immigration reform is going to be one of the most important things in this effort. So, I think she’s going to win, and the voters are going to send a message that we want immigration reform. And Paul Ryan and the other leaders of the Republican Party, they’re going to understand that if they want a future for their party, they have to work to find a solution.
Kaine's outlook is hugely optimistic, but maybe optimism is exactly what America needs right now.