The Candidates on Illegal Immigration: Mike Huckabee
Illegal Immigration is one of the most important issues in the 2008 campaign cycle. How we address this one issue has implications on nearly every other issue including Crime, Health Care, the Economy, Education, Taxes, and National Security. Because of its broad implications voters need to know exactly where their candidates stand and what their record is in addressing it.
My intention with this weekly series of posts is to take a look at each of the top candidates, what they say now and what their record indicates they have done in the past. The candidates I intend to do this post on are Mike Huckabee, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani on the Republican side and Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and John Edwards on the Democrats side. Chances are the list of Candidates I intend to cover on this issue will change, If I do change them it will be based on national polls or on state polls in one of the key states. I have no intention of wasting my time on looking at the fringe candidates like Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul, unless those campaigns can demonstrate that they will have an impact on the primaries or are able to drive the discussion on the issue.
First up is former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.Vodpod videos no longer available.
In this age of terror, immigration is not only an economic issue, but also a national security issue. We must know who is coming into our country, where they are going, and why they are here. All those who are caught trying to enter illegally must be detained, processed, and deported. As Governor, he ordered his state troopers to work with the Department of Homeland Security to arrest illegals and enforce federal immigration law.
The Governor opposes and will never allow amnesty. He passionately rejected the amnesty bill that President Bush and Sen. McCain tried to ram through Congress this summer after secret meetings of an under-the-radar cabal of amnesty-loving senators.
The Governor also opposes the “Sanctuary Cities” that harbor illegal immigrants and proposes that the Federal Government crack down on on rogue cities that willfully undermine our economy and national security.
All these statements sound well and good, but there are a few things in my opinion that are missing.
- Nothing on reducing and streamlining the bureaucratic nightmare that is our immigration system. Many of the folks who are trying to come here legally find themselves waiting for several years (some close to a decade) for final approval of citizenship. While I feel we should be aggressively cracking down on those who are fragrantly breaking our laws, we also have to reward those who are following the rules and assimilating into society.
- The Governor does say he wants to aggressively go after employers who hire illegals and make the fines and penalties so large that they will see it is not worth the risk. But he offers nothing that I could find that allows employers to efficiently check the immigration status of current or potential employees. It is tough to hold someone accountable for something they do not have the means to comply with.
- Finally Governor Huckabee mentions nothing I could find on how he would attempt to convince the government Mexico to enact economic reforms that would enable the Mexican economy to support their population. Afterall, if the Mexican people had the oppertunities to provide for thier families a prosperous future there would be no need to cross deserts and work in a foreign country for a paltry wage.
There have been a few reports that Governor Huckabee provided tuition breaks for illegal immigrants, based on the Governor’s 2005 State of the State address and other news articles. Those reports are misleading and a bit inaccurate. What the Governor did was to allow children, illegal or not, who graduate from Arkansas high schools to apply for scholarships. My opinion on this is that while you can not hold a child accountable for the parents illegal status, before that child is rewarded with a publicly funded scholarship he/she must have at least began the citizenship process.
Another issue that Governor Huckabee has been chalenged on is his denouncing of efforts to deny state benefits to illegal immigrants, calling one such effort proposed in Arkansas in 2005 as un-Christian, un-American, and irresponsible. I honestly do not know how that legislation compares with the recent Oklahoma legislation that recently took effect, I would like to see Governor Huckabee’s comments or opinion it however.
Conclusion: The Governor has a charismatic personality and is very likable, on many issues I agree with him whole heartedly. On the Immigration issue however, his campaign rhetoric and record as Governor fall far short of what I would be looking for in a President.
Comments & or Suggestions are welcome.
Cross Posted at Hang Right Politics