Huckabee on immigration, take two

Many readers may recall that I graded the Presidential candidates on their issue stances over the summer in order to determine who I’d support. Back in August I graded Mike Huckabee this way:

Mike Huckabee has the right ideas about the border fence and opposing the late, unlamented immigration bill. But aside from those who commit crimes (aside from the very act of entering illegally) he does nothing with the millions of illegals already here or their employers. I’ll give him 11 points (out of 25) – not quite half since he addresses not quite half the issue from my standpoint.

In fact, a portion of this from his website was what I based his original assessment on. It appears that his campaign added some to this issue page after the checkmarks because he repeats the part about the $3 billion that was passed for border security. Oops. This must have been in the same timeframe as the end of last week when Mike Huckabee came out with what he called the “Secure America” Plan. It was a revision and extension of what he noted originally in several areas.

First, he puts a date certain on a border fence with interlocking surveillance camera system, which he vows to have complete by the middle of 2010. (Duncan Hunter says if elected he’ll have that done in six months so what’s the holdup?)

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He’s quite inspecific about personnel though, only calling for an increase in the number of Border Patrol agents. I’m sure he means more than one, but not having a figure in mind nor placing it in the context of how many agents we currently have makes this a meaningless platitude. The same goes for giving “(full) support” to law enforcement personnel. That phrase sounds like something that could turn porcine once Congress gets a hold of it. We know what numbers Congress intended in the bill passed this summer so some additional clarity would be great.

I have some issue with the next part, “Prevent Amnesty”:

Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.

First of all, the order on leaving the country is backwards. Practically every country has a United States embassy, why not make the illegals who are here for economic reasons go back to their country of origin first and then register there? Have you ever heard of the internet? It’s great for sending paperwork. Moreover, if we haven’t caught the millions that are already here illegally, what makes us think that we’re not going to go through the same “catch and release” we’ve been doing for decades? These illegals, particularly the criminal element like the MS-13 gang, aren’t going to fret over a 10 year bar on reentry because they’re ILLEGAL. They already broke the law once! That’s why the fence needs to get done now.

Let those who want a second chance the right way leave and come back.

On the other hand, Huckabee finally addresses gaps in the employer aspect that were missing from his original immigration stance. I like this aspect, but I will guarantee you that some group like CASA de Maryland or other Latino advocate group will drag that law into court before the ink is dry on President Huckabee’s signature.

Next is immigration reform through the FairTax. Honestly, I think he just threw that on as a buzzword. He needs to expand on how that would be an “economic disincentive to immigrate to the U.S. illegally” because I sure can’t figure it out. If anything, having tax-free income may have the opposite effect.

On point 6, “Empowering Local Authorities”, he doesn’t repeat his earlier pledge to crack down on “rogue cities” (better known as “sanctuary cities”) and without a stick that carrot will not achieve the desired results.

His ideas for document security, particularly “(rejecting) Mexico’s ‘matricula consular’ card”, I can’t argue with, nor do I have a problem with the dual citizenship aspect.

But regarding the last part, the one issue I take is not addressing to my satisfaction the issue of “chain migration” and citizenship by virtue of birth. We know that thousands of pregnant women illegally cross the border just to have their babies here and use them as their stake to claim citizenship – the term is “anchor babies.”

Finally, it’s interesting to me that Huckabee cites his source for much of the ideas behind the “Secure America” plan. As he states:

This plan is partially modeled on a proposal by Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies. (“Re: Immigration: Ten Points for a Successful Presidential Candidate,” National Review, May 23, 2005.)

If you want the original Krikorian article, I’m linking it here. Krikorian concludes it this way:

The silent majority on immigration is becoming increasingly restive and vocal, and this issue will only intensify as the next election approaches. Aspiring GOP candidates should capitalize on the current disquiet and seize the political high ground before their opponents beat them to it. Anyone desiring conservative support, and the Republican nomination, would be wise to adopt the above plan. It would be a shame to have to get used to saying “President Clinton” again. Wouldn’t it?

It looks like Mike Huckabee is trying to get that high ground and to some extent he’s succeeded. But there’s nothing that says no other candidate can use the ideas. More importantly, whoever uses the ideas can’t be allowed to go wobbly once the drive-by media and the illegal immigration sycophants (but I repeat myself) start their cacophany of protest. A half million Mexicans marching in the streets of Los Angeles make for a good news story but those of us who are here through legal means need to use our votes to alleviate the problem.

Crossposted on monoblogue.

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