Roy Beck | NumbersUSA

After weeks of work, our NumbersUSA team is ready to show you our evaluations of the 20 politicians who Real Clear Politics show are polling at 1% or higher for the 2016 Presidential Election.

We’ve chosen a really easy url for the Grade Cards for the 2016 Presidential Hopefuls.


Worker Protection Immigration Grade Cards

Only two of the 20 Hopefuls earn a decent grade at this time. But we always expect improvements.

We will re-evaluate all category ratings and all grades EVERY week until the Primaries are over and the 2016 general election is held.

But in our first week of publishing our analyses, these are the grades we have to give out:

1 A
1 B-minus

2 C
4 C-minus

5 D+
2 D-minus

2 F
3 F-minus

What do these grades mean? Read on . . .


For the most part, we measure candidates by the recommendations and principles of the bi-partisan U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform. It favored an immigration system that protects the interests of American wage-earners (both U.S.-born and foreign-born). Commission members were chosen by leaders of each party in the Senate and House, with Chairwoman Barbara Jordan appointed by Pres. Bill Clinton.

With most Americans in occupations where real wages have been stagnant or declining for years — and with nearly 60 million working-age Americans not having a job — we’re this year calling our grade cards this:


Assessing immigration stances that affect Americans’ jobs & wages by changing supply of workers.

Multiple polls find that every recommendation and principle in the NumbersUSA Grade Card is the favorite preference of U.S. voters.


Our grading in every election cycle is the most widely cited in news media and social media because we dig below generalizations and platitudes for history of actions and — even more importantly — specificity of promises of what candidates now say they would do on immigration issues.

For example, statements such as “I oppose amnesty” or “secure the border” mean almost nothing until we have more specifics.

Each Presidential Hopeful earns a single overall immigration grade which is based on ratings in 10 immigration categories, which we show on our master grid.

The main consideration in each category is how a candidate’s positions would loosen or tighten the labor supply competing with Americans for jobs and wages.

You should be appalled by how bad most of the grades are this first week.

However, our experience in past years is that most of the candidates get better as they spend more time hearing voters’ concerns and desires about the nation’s immigration policies.


Don’t blame us. Instead, go to work to change the grade.

1. Click on your candidate’s photo and review the quotes and citations that we used to give each rating.

2. If you are aware of an official statement, an action or a quote in a publication that we don’t provide and that might justify changing a rating, email it to us at:

3. Contact your candidate’s staff to better educate on the specific issues and to suggest ways for the candidate to improve his/her position for the American people and for that candidate’s grade. We have often seen this work in past years. We will be providing contact information on each candidate’s individual pages.


Too many politicians, their staffs, bloggers and news media treat immigration policy as something that has only two or three components.

But the livelihoods and quality of life of tens of millions of Americans are affected by dozens of aspects of immigration policy.

To review the many factors we consider in the 10 categories we rate, go to this page:

You can also get to that page on a link provided when you roll over the names of the categories on our master grid.

In each category we determine whether a Hopeful’s actions and statements are significantly more harmful than helpful, or vice versa. For some, they are close enough that we grant a MIXED rating.

For those whose positions are on balance helpful to American workers, we then weigh whether they deserve a rating of 1st STEPS, or GOOD or VERY GOOD or EXCELLENT.

On the other end, the ratings are UNHELPFUL or HARMFUL or VERY HARMFUL or ABYSMAL.

Not surprisingly, many of the candidates have failed to address issues in some of the categories. We rate those as NO ACTION, a rating that drags down the grade of many of the Hopefuls. It is important for citizens to press candidates to address every one of the issues.


Unlike publications connected to partisan campaigns, NumbersUSA has no interest in “gotcha” quotes or so-called gaffes.

We’re interested in mature discussion of serious topics.

We recognize that politicians are juggling myriad issues and cannot be expected to be experts in all of them. It is not surprising that they sometimes contradict themselves and become confused. In such cases, we encourage them to publicly clarify their positions.

We are not interested in “punishing” politicians for past behavior. We welcome Hopefuls who change their mind on an immigration issue and take a stand that is more favorable to wage-earners than in the past. We hope that all Hopefuls will become better advocates for the average American worker as debates and campaigning progress.

We reject the idea that a politician’s specific, very public promise on an issue can’t be used in the future to hold that politician to the promise, or at least closer to it than if the promise had not been made.

However, a history of broken promises and multiple changes of position will be noted and negatively affect a rating.

Actions in recent years are given far more weight than earlier actions.

Statements from years past are given little weight, compared to statements made in the last year.

The more public and specific a recent promise, the more value it has.

We do not send out a survey to Presidential Hopefuls. We depend on their public statements and actions.We look for official positions on a Hopeful’s website or in official press releases. Quotes in the news media are considered (although we give candidate’s the opportunity to clarify statements they feel misrepresented what they truly are promising).

It’s early in the campaigning. Let’s go to work to help these candidates get SMARTER, WISER & MORE SENSITIVE to the needs of America’s workers and their families.

ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA

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