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The GOP and Immigration, Part 2: A Look Inside the Candidates’ Platforms

by Ken Robinson, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC

GOPAs promised, we’re delving deeper into each candidate’s respective position on the war against the undocumented (WATU).

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, who has been noted for having the harshest stance on immigration issues, has the least defined plan, simply echoing the rhetoric of “we are a nation founded on immigrants…but we are a nation based on laws” and promises to “ensure our borders are fully secured.”  In summary, she states immigrants go home.  She would be a WATU four-star general, no doubt.

Texas Governor Rick Perry has defended his position to provide in-state tuition to undocumented workers and to educate their children. He criticizes the idea of a fence for protection, saying the country needs “boots on the ground.” However, much like Senator McCain’s transformation from immigration reformer to immigration zealot, his position is hardening against a comprehensive policy that might provide for real reform. He is becoming a trained WATU soldier, but one with some immigration street-cred.

Congressman Ron Paul suggests a six-point plan for addressing the immigration issue that would offer no amnesty for existing illegal aliens living in the U.S. If you could understand his policy, please help explain it to us. What is clear is that Rep. Paul wants to get rid of undocumented workers, change the U.S. Constitution and get rid of the welfare state. Heck, if he had is way, we would be getting rid of government as a whole…  not sure why he wants to “drive this bus,” unless it is simply to drive it further off the road to prove his point. Government is bad, Americans are good. Rep Paul doesn’t believe in WATU if it increases the size of our government. We will call him a WATU conscientious objector, although objecting not against the War’s principles, just against the government that is necessitated to pursue the War’s objectives.

Mitt Romney, the only candidate not to have a portion of his campaign website dedicated to discussing immigration, said at a recent town hall meeting that all illegal immigrants who want a green card must first return home.  Does he own a travel agency that will somehow benefit by the unexpected travel of 11 to 14 million people? If not, perhaps Bain Capital will invest in one.

Former Speaker Newt Gingrich offers up a 10-step plan for immigration reform, which would include improving the EB-5 program and allowing some illegal aliens to stay but not have the right to gain citizenship or vote. Newt is more of an enlisted man rather than an officer in the WATU.  His plan has multiple points or steps. His immigration plan indicates some thought was put into its formation, but still, this plan lacks specificity and flexibility.  Most importantly, this plan would lack support with the party he intends to lead.

The candidates’ positions and the potential backlash have had a solidifying affect on the Republican Party as a recent New York Times article reports. In it, GOP Representatives express their concern that the increasingly hawkish positions taken by the candidates could drive Hispanic immigrants away. That concern may logically push Congress to adopted a framework that combines stricter border enforcement with a guest worker program and a way to bring long-term illegal residents out of hiding.

The Rant

Come this summer, my suspicion is that the GOP’s platform may not have an “immigration” plank in it – the topic will become too controversial.  However, if it does, the very real possibility is that the plank will be lifted out of the GOP’s party platform and used to build a fence to keep immigrants out.  I know, this is an over-simplified take on the GOP position.  The complexity of the immigration issue merits more than what the political process has recently dedicated to it.  Yes, of course our government should do all that is necessary to maintain the integrity of our borders.  Border security is a fundamental duty of our government. We support all reasonable efforts to secure our borders.  But there is much more to the problem and the Republican ideas and policies on immigration are clearly lacking.  Tune in next blog to read about the Democrats and their relationship with immigration.

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