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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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    GrumpyOne | November 23, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    What nearly everyone here and elsewhere has failed to recognize is that this immigration crisis would not exist IF all current laws were enforced.

    The country faced a similar situation in the 1950’s during the Eisenhower administration. The solution… Enforce all current laws without exception. The result was that the issue resolved itself within a year.

    Why does 21st century thinking insist on taking a complex route? Can we not simplify issue resolution anymore?

    Regarding Gingrich’s position… Now that he’s on top he is already becoming a bully and I look for him to flop harder than Perry.

    The American public has made their position regarding illegal immigration known in plain terms for years and it’s time for the politicos to enforce the public’s will and enforce curret laws…

    The immigration debate: penalty for speeding depends on how much your car costs. If you drive a cheap wreck, you don’t get a ticket – one can ignore the limit. A Mercedes gets towed and confiscated. Standard cars receive a maximum fine.

    The problem with the no-amnesty pledges: one court ruling and all the written-in-stone laws about immigration get overturned.

    The gov’t and business love the current immigration situation: low wage earners get subsidized by low to higher income US tax payers. And the illegals have children they need to spend money on, further satisfying gov’t and business.

    I notice that the only time our reptilian politicians talk about “compassion” is towards illegals, but they have nothing but contempt for law abiding US citizens.

    Why can’t we all only obey the laws we want to like the illegals, politicians, Barack Obama and Jon Corzine?

    StephenMonteith | November 24, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Great work on finding a clip that cuts short of what he actually proposes. As anyone who paid attention during the 2008 election should remember, Romney FURTHER states that the people who are here illegally and are on the path to citizenship find their place on that path Behind the people who are trying to come here legally. Anyone who wants to become an American citizen can do so, but if they broke the law in coming here, then they need to go to the back of the line. And before the process for citizenship can begin, they have to pay a penalty for breaking the law; maybe deportation, maybe not, but certainly not amnesty. That’s the kind of nuance that gets lost when your YouTube clip is only 14 seconds long.

      StephenMonteith in reply to StephenMonteith. | November 24, 2011 at 3:01 am

      In case you’re interested, this link has the full quote by Romney, not just the fourteen seconds of it you see above:

          William A. Jacobson in reply to StephenMonteith. | November 24, 2011 at 8:15 am

          Here’s the continuation of the sentence from your link… “but they should not be given a special pathway, a special guarantee that all of them get to say here for the rest of their lives merely by virtue of having come here illegally. And that, I think, is the great flaw in the final bill that came forward from the Senate.” It in no way shows the clip to be misleading. Romney was for a pathway to citizenship, Newt’s statement the other night did not speak about citizenship, merely a subset of illegals who could avoid deportation. I don’t disagree with Romney’s position that illegal should get to the back of the citizenship line, but it is not truthful for the Romney campaign to charge Newt with seeking amnesty when Romney himself was for citizenship for illegals.

            StephenMonteith in reply to William A. Jacobson. | November 25, 2011 at 7:50 am

            First, there’s nothing “untruthful” about characterizing Newt’s position as amnesty, no matter what Romney’s position may or may not be.

            Second, Romney’s version of a “path to citizenship” avoids amnesty, as those who are here illegally would still need to pay some sort of penalty for breaking the law; a penalty that may include deportation, or it may not, depending on the circumstances. The clip is misleading because it equates Romney’s “path” with amnesty, making it seem disingenuous for him to attack Newt on the issue. In reality, no such conflict exists.

      William A. Jacobson in reply to StephenMonteith. | November 24, 2011 at 7:21 am

      Romney supported a path to citizenship for people here illegally. That is more than Newt has proposed. For the Romney campaign to be shouting “amnesty” at Newt is intellectually dishonest.

    […] and equally important, Romney has no answer on deportation policy. This resulted in the ”Abbott and Costello” routine I highlighted yesterday, in which Romney’s spokesperson could not or would not say […]

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