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QSR Feature
A Vote for Quick-Serve
Where do the 2008 presidential candidates stand on the issues that pertain to you? QSR breaks it down.
Republican and Democrat presidential candidates on issues important to restaurants.

Welcome to 2008. The year McDonald’s sponsors the Beijing Olympics, Wendy’s finishes its national breakfast roll out, and you elect the next president. While candidates have been dominating the nightly news for months, it’s finally time to seriously start thinking about the candidate who will best serve you and, more importantly, help you serve your customers.

QSR has compiled a cheat sheet on the top-six presidential hopefuls— three Republicans, three Democrats—to help you make your decision. The Democrats are: Senator Hillary Clinton from New York, former Senator John Edwards from North Carolina, and Senator Barack Obama from Illinois. The Republicans are: Rudolph Giuliani, former mayor of New York City; Senator John McCain from Arizona; and Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts. Below, we’ll take a look at the top-three issues facing small businesses in America—health care costs, immigration, and labor wage regulation—and where each candidates stands.

Where presidential candidates stand on immigration.Immigration

Though often disputed, the number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. has officially been marked at 8.7 million by the U.S. Census Bureau in its most recent population report. Because the government lacks official arrival and departure records and undocumented immigrants tend to avoid Census participation, some argue that number is actually much higher. What almost everyone can agree on, however, is that the foodservice industry relies heavily on this workforce. That puts immigration, specifically the hiring of immigrants, on the front burner for the 2008 presidential election.

“The best immigration reform is one that addresses the problem in a comprehensive fashion, not through enforcement only,” says John Gay, senior vice president for Government Affairs & Public Policy for the National Restaurant Association (NRA). “Reform should strengthen border security, establish a workable program to verify job applicants’ legal status, create a program to meet labor demands when there aren’t enough U.S. workers, and provide a program to allow many of the undocumented to earn legal status.”

IMMIGRATION: “Our economy is harmed by an underground economy that features a large and unprotected labor force” John Edwards

According to Gay, the NRA supports policies that allow citizenship “after paying a fine, learning English, going through background checks, and meeting other criteria.”

Clinton Democrat Voted in favor of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2006, which would have created a guest worker program and addressed border security issues. Voted in favor of creating a guest worker program that would provide permanent resident status adjustment for a qualifying illegal alien and family. It also would allow illegal immigrants who have been in the U.S. and employed for five years to earn citizenship.

Edwards Democrat “Our economy is harmed by an underground economy that features a large and unprotected labor force,” says Edwards on his Web site. “And our values are violated by a system that keeps families apart and forces people to live in the shadows, vulnerable to abuse.” Edwards supports strong border security and creating a path to citizenship for existing illegal immigrants that includes fines and learning English.

Giuliani Republican If elected Giuliani says he will propose Secure Authorized Foreign Entry (safe) Cards be required for all noncitizen employees and students. “They should have a tamper-proof ID card. It should be in a database that allows you to figure out who they are, why they’re here, make sure they’re not illegal immigrants here for a bad purpose,” Giuliani said during last June’s Republican presidential debate. He supports a path to citizenship that would require immigrants to “truly” read, write, and speak English.

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