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    Abbott and Costello on Immigration

    Abbott and Costello on Immigration

    Last night Newt Gingrich addressed the issue of whether to deport people who are in the country illegally but have deep roots in the community over long periods of time.  The issue of deportation is quite distinct from a so-called “pathway to citizenship.”

    The Romney campaign immediately came out of the debate insisting that Gingrich was in favor of “amnesty” for 10 million people, which led to this exchange bewteen Philip Klein of The Washington Examiner and Romney campaign chief Eric Fehrnstrom (added, the audio is here):

    I followed up by asking Fehrnstrom whether Romney believed in deporting those immigrants who are already here illegally.

    “[Romney] doesn’t believe in granting them amnesty,” Fehrnstrom responded.

    That started a back and forth exchange worthy of Abbott and Costello, as Fehrnstrom kept continuing to drive the “no amnesty” point home, and I tried to get more details.

    I followed up again, asking what “no amnesty” would mean for the people already here.

    “Well, first, you have to get turn off the magnets to get them to stop coming.”

    Again, I asked about those already here.

    “He would not grant them amnesty,” Fehrnstrom said.

    “But what would he do with them?” I asked.

    He reiterated, “He would not grant them amnesty.”

    I asked again, “But what would he do?”

    “I just told you, he’s not going to grant them amnesty,” he said.

    Again, I said, “That’s not an answer, that’s telling me what he won’t do. What would he do?

    “He would not grant them amnesty,” he repeated.

    There is no depth to Romney’s immigration position, and no nuance.  There is a world of difference between an amnesty which makes people here illegally citizens on some path other than the back of the line, and a deportation policy.

    Even Paul Begala gets that Newt’s position not only is not amnesty, it is far short of Obama’s position:

    I suspect that on careful examination we will learn that what Gingrich actually supports is a netherworld for immigrant workers—neither full citizenship nor subject to deportation. That is far from the DREAM Act—more like a dream come true for any employer seeking cheap labor.

    Superficial talking points will not cut it.  Hopefully we figure that out before it’s too late.

    Update:  Rush just played an audio of Romney in 2007 proposing citizenship for illegal aliens, a position which Ruch noted goes far beyond what Newt said last night.  If I can get the audio, I’ll post it.

    Okay, here it is:

    And, Andrew McCarthy on what Newt said:

    That’s not amnesty. It’s common sense. It would also be a vast improvement over Obama immigration policy. I don’t understand what the hubbub is about.


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    I wish someone would shift the terms of this debate away from the sheer numbers of illegal immigrants and their presumptive “lawbreaking” to make a distinction between immigrants we would like to have and those we don’t. Newt may have taken a step in this direction by suggesting that we should have some kind of draft-board-style review of individual cases to establish who can stay and who should be deported, even as we effectively close the border to new illegals.

    Let’s face it. Most Americans do not especially want to deport some guy who came here from Korea on a tourist visa 20 years ago a never left but married, opened a greengrocery, worked hard, and raised children here. Technically, he is as much a “lawbreaker” as the guy who paid someone to smuggle him across the Arizona border last year and disappeared into South LA where he joined a street gang.

    Just because there are 11 million illegals, it is not impossible to make such distinctions, as the pro- amnesty crowd would have it. Newt may have offered a way to do it.

      JayDick in reply to JEBurke. | November 23, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      You have raised a long-ignored issue that I think is very important: which immigrants do we want and which do we not want. Right now, families of people already here (legally) have high priority. But this includes some fairly distant relatives. That should stop; only immediate families should have priority (spouses, minor children).

      We need more highly educated immigrants to help our economy grow. We probably don’t need many more uneducated people who can only do manual labor.

    More myopic listening from the professor. Rush was not complementary towards Newt’s amnesty plan either. Indeed he views his proposal as a slippery slope to amnesty, as do I.

    In fact, as with most of the hair-brained ideas Newt has, it is all in the implementation. Does anyone seriously believe the government is going to do a household-to-household analysis of each family to determine whether they meet the criteria Newt laid out (a family illegally in the US for 25 years?)? What happens to the family that has illegally been in the US for 24 years and 11 months?

    Newt’s proposal was entirely political. He is trying to sway some of Mitt’s constituents because he believes he has all the support he can garner from the center-right. It is not a serious proposal on governance.

      Midwest Rhino (not RINO) in reply to mdw9661. | November 23, 2011 at 3:32 pm

      If government can’t do something like that, what CAN they do? They barely kick out the illegals that they catch doing crimes.

      There might be a one year period for illegals to sign up locally, and be reviewed. They could show residence, church membership, job record, etc. They’d need some local references from citizens. Any not signed up in that year are out.

      Processing could take longer. Some would never sign up. I don’t know what happens in the big cities, which might be nearly dominant with illegals … but it seems a more realistic approach than kicking them all out by some undefined process. They can’t even kick out ones that are reported as it is.

      The hard core “hunt them all down and forcibly drag them out” seems less realistic, and more raw political rhetoric.

        “The hard core “hunt them all down and forcibly drag them out” seems less realistic, and more raw political rhetoric.”

        Its not like we haven’t done it before, with great success. Look up “Operation Wetback”, during the Eisenhower administration.

        What’s lacking is the political will, not the ability to actually enforce the law.

        If the feds simply started enforcing the laws already on the books, most illegals would leave on their own. Even under operation wetback, 10x more illegals are believed to have left on their own than were physically deported. We saw the same thing last year when AZ passed its immigration law, and are seeing the same thing now in Alabama.

        Its called ‘attrition through enforcement’. If you are actively trying to enforce laws that make it difficult for illegals to find work or a place to live, or difficult for them to travel, they leave. Of course, some will just go to another State that isn’t enforcing the laws, but many return to their home country. If the feds were to enforce these laws, rather than the states, more would leave the country.

          Midwest Rhino (not RINO) in reply to Aarradin. | November 23, 2011 at 4:33 pm

          yeah, I think we could just enforce SS ID’s and cut way back on illegal workers. We should make the legal path in easier, for those we need and want here.

          But as for political will, Newt’s chance for some to sign up for legal residency with limited benefits seems like a reasonable compromise. Those arguing for amnesty claim most illegals are pure, so fine, give them the chance to “come out of the shadows” and ID, tax and fine them. No Medicaid or school unless they sign up? Maybe 10% would sign up and pass the local review, and they’d have to have a tax paying job.

          This seems prudent for the presidential campaign … any real action would need congress.

          Combine this with easier path to citizenship for those that play by the rules, if they qualify AND we need them.

            The federal govt estimates that somewhere around 30% of illegals are on welfare.

            Seems to me, a good place to start would simply be for the federal government to go through medicaid, medicare, social security, food stamps, welfare, schip, etc, etc, and weed out anyone that’s not a citizen. The law already requires you to be a citizen to be eligible, they just refuse to check at any point in the process. So, start your attritition through enforcement by detaching illegals from the govt teat.

        You’re part right. Government can’t do something like this. The Reagan plan granted blanket amnesty to 2 million illegals under the pretense that it would be a one-off curtailment of illegal immigration. The result: we now have 20 million plus illegals.

        In a practical sense, as Limbaugh pointed out, what happens when a family living illegally in the US for 24 years, 11 months comes before this “community board?” How about 19 years or 11 years?

        The entire proposal is non-nonsensical, wholly unenforceable, and begs for ACLU and La Raza intervention.

        Very consistent with Gingrich, he has never had an idea he didn’t like, likes to present himself as smarter than anyone else in the room, and doesn’t consider the feasibility of implementation.

          JEBurke in reply to mdw9661. | November 23, 2011 at 7:23 pm

          With respect to Rush, every conceivable law or set of rules concerning who can enter and who can stay in the country are fundamentally arbitrary. Current rules governing visas, green cards, etc. are all arbitrary. Visitors can come to travel or conduct business for up to 90 days, not 91. Certain categories of workers need sponsorship by certain categories of employers, not others. Certain categories of relatives may apply to be reunited, not others. Certain types of threats qualify one for entry on political or humanitarian grounds, not others. All of these distinctions require a substantial screening and enforcement apparatus.

          Meanwhile, the core of the problem of illegals is that even if Congress were to decide what to do about them, whatever its decision, implementing it would be an enormous undertaking.

          If Newt’s suggestion is “unenforcable,” isn’t every other approach equally unenforcable., including a roundup and deportation of 11 million people, most of whom are doing their best not to be found?

    Did you know that Newt has a bilingual web site called “The Americano” and has a Twitter feed in Spanish.

    Welcome to the northern suburb of Mexico, formerly the United States.

      Aarradin in reply to mdw9661. | November 23, 2011 at 4:18 pm

      So long as he isn’t saying things in Spanish that conflict with what he’s saying in English, I have no problem with this.

      I’d much prefer to have conservative thought broadcast in Spanish than to abandon this voting block to liberal indoctrination.

        mdw9661 in reply to Aarradin. | November 23, 2011 at 6:05 pm

        What’s amazing is the ignorance people have shown in terms of what sways the Hispanic, Latino vote. Consider for example the exit polls in the aftermath of the 2008 election.

        On the laundry list of foremost issues that resulted in the way Hispanics or Latinos voted, the immigration issue ranked 12th. The number one issue was the economy. There is no reason to believe it will be any different in 2012.

        Yet, liberals and many conservatives and moderates presume that immigration is foremost in the minds of the generic Hispanic and Latino.

        As to the Spanish web site and Twitter account, last I checked this is still an English speaking country where assimilation is expected.

    Doug Wright | November 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

    So, finally someone made intelligent comments about what his policy would be regarding illegal immigration and he gets canned by so-called conservatives? Newt is not my favorite, yet, but his statement during the debate regarding his pro-family immigration policy made sense and I liked it.

    The GOP can be just like the Dimmicrat branch of American politics every once in a while, so maybe we do need a Goldwater type or a Reagan reborn to shape us up. Newt just might be that person and we’ll find out over the next 6 to 8-months.

    OTOH: is does come down to ABO in so many ways, yet that approach has its pitfalls too. We’ll find out.

      Doug Wright in reply to Doug Wright. | November 23, 2011 at 8:25 pm

      Also, I’m clicking on that Grayson ad everytime I see it on a LI posting, so hopefully the professor gets a big bonus this year and Grayson a huge advertising bill, a double winner; in DDD speech, a winner winner.

    DocWahala | November 23, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    I’m American..but I’ve spent the last 6 years working in foreign countries, so my views on immigration tend to be influenced by my own life experiences.

    I have taken drilling rigs into countries where I not only have more experience working the equipment, I am heads and shoulders above the national work force with my training. However, those same countries immigration policies, with their extreme restrictions end up blocking out those with experience and training, and replacing same with persons who not only have very little experience, they also tend to have the most minimal training available. (Trust me, after 6 years, I have more than enough examples).

    Then I get to a country such as Singapore and the worker’s visa program is something I wish we would have in the U.S.

    1) in Singapore, construction workers are “manual”, therefore, you don’t see a lot of citizens here lining up for the job (something like our migrant farmers, wouldn’t you say?) What do I always see? Workers who’s main home is just right across the bridge in Malaysia. They come here to work in construction – they make more money here than they would ever make at home, they pay taxes to Singapore, their employer pays taxes to Singapore, and they are active in the Singapore economy. Result: buildings get built, and more workers are needed, so now construction workers are coming in from India and Pakistan.

    2) Everyone in this country has either an “Identity Card” (Singaporian) or “Employee Pass” (expat). One can not open a bank account, buy a car, or apply for a job without one or the other.

    3) Certain locations have immigration check points built into the security systems. I work at a shipyard, well over 5,000 people in and out of the main gate daily. I have to swipe a security badge. I can only get the security badge with one of the cards I listed in #2. For expats, the security system is tied to immigrations, and if my worker visa has expired, when I go through the gate, it notifies immigration. And before the day is over, there will be a van outside the main gate, a van with little bars on the window.

    4) Residential status in Singapore is all about “what can you do for Singapore business”. They want foreign companies to come here (shipbuilding, banking, intl shipping). They don’t set up immigration laws that impede business growth.

    5) And I don’t buy the “they take jobs from Americans” arguments. I’ve lived in agriculture states – I didn’t see a lot of blonde, blue eyes out in the fields picking crops. I don’t see a lot of second, third and fourth generation Americans getting excited about being a dishwasher. Bottom line, Singapore has a 2.5% unemployment rate, and almost 20% of the people here are on residential status. You do the math.

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