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

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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.  

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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

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  1. mark robertson

    Unfortunately, it’s not what the candidates say they will or will not do during the campain… It’s what the winner actually acts upon. Or, should I say what the US congress lets the winner act upon.
    Mostly crooks, lyers, and “traitors” of our constitution control our government. I dought the average american will get a fair shake from any of the current candidates! They are all “big money” and could care less about less than affuent americans!!

    Sad but true!

  2. Bill Sinclair

    One must only look at the state of Arkansas and the employment of illegals by companies such as Tyson to know the true record of Mike Huckabee.

    Look at the construction and growth in N.W. Arkansas. How is it being done? Stop by a construction site and see.

    Huckabee is weak on immigration period.
    It would be political suicide in Arkansas to touch the illegal issue. You cannot beat Tyson and Wal-Mart!

    He is a moral person who let’s moral issues dictate his decisions. He cannot be tough on illegal immigration. His record in Arkansas proves it.

    He will not say the things we need to hear such as penalizing empolyers, deportation of illegals, building the fence, etc.

    Why is he climbing in the polls? He is a DEMOPUBLICAN!

  3. Bill Sinclair

    Further information for you Huckster’s who think The Huck is the next best thing.

    Tyson will once again be in court in March of 2008. Why, because many employees of the legal persuasion, are filing lawsuits under the RICO law against Tyson.

    Basically, Tyson is being sued because of hiring illegals and in driving down wages in the process.

    In 1990 the average wage of a worker in a meat processing plant was $19.00 an hour. Today $9.00 per hour.

    My daughters grandfather, My ex-Father in law, was a wonderful man. He worked For Wilson’s meat packing for his whole life after his service in WWII. He did the work, belonged to a union, and was a proud man. He also made a very nice living and raised 6 children. He could not do that today because of the sub-standard wages that have been brought down by illegal’s within the meat packing industry.

    Also, Tyson had some managers not only hiring illegal’s but trafficking in them. The Managers no longer work for Tyson but as usual top Management knew nothing.

    Why do I harp on Tyson. It’s Arkansas. A large employer of illegals IN ARKANSAS. Do your homework. The Huckster is a phony, a mis-representer of Clintonesque proportions.

    He bows to the needs of Corporate America. Evidenced by his lack of action in Arkansas as Governor in regards to illegal immigration.

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