Yes, it's about that time. Time for a thorough examination of Rick Perry's stance on illegal immigration. Frankly, I have put off writing this article, without really knowing why. Here are a few possible reasons I came up with:
1) There's so much there, it would take a lot of hard work to dig it all up.
2) Illegal immigration just doesn't seem to affect me that much.
3) Colorado has a libertarian element, especially among the Tea Party, which is soft on the issue or even openly supports open borders (think Ron Paul).
4) When trying to discuss illegal immigration, liberals manage to turn it into "you big fat racist hater, you hate Hispanic people! I win!" Explaining the nuances of the situation is often not worth the effort even if you do prevail.
Nevertheless, I have decided to make a feeble attempt here since it has become a salient issue in Rick Perry's campaign, and must be addressed.
First, I will try to organize my somewhat disorganized and rambling thoughts on the matter into some semblance of a coherent position. Following that, I will give up and just let Tom Tancredo explain it to you, since he is, after all, from Colorado. Before I do that though, let me give you some links to people who have been able to speak far more authoritatively about the subject, in the hope that you will read their articles rather than mine. Apologies for linking to MSNBC, etc., but many of the conservative blogs are just shilling for Perry so they're no good.
USA Today: Illegal-immigration issue sets Rick Perry apart from rivals
USA Today 2: Perry's immigration stance divides Republicans
MSNBC: How immigration blew up on Rick Perry
The Iowa Republican: Rick Perry's Illegal Immigration Problem
Michelle Malkin: Texas Tea Party activists to Perry; Hey, what about our borders?
The Daily Caller: Steyn scolds Perry on illegal immigration: 'Cheap racism demagoguery'
Etc. You get the point. There's a lot there, and if you want more, teh Google is your friend.
First, my take on illegal immigration. Yes, it's a big problem. Millions of illegal immigrants have invaded our nation, mostly by slipping across the southern border, creating some real problems. Many people argue that illegal immigrants take up precious resources and jobs that would have otherwise gone to Americans. That's true to a point, but of course many of them work very hard, do jobs that Americans would rather not do, and contribute to society in other ways, so from a financial standpoint it may be a wash. There is, of course, the important issue of just which laws are ok to break? After all, if an immigrant can ignore our border law, why should I have to submit to the TSA? Why should I have to follow any of Obama's hare-brained and often corruption riddled plans, such as his latest jobs bill? You see? At some point, the law has to hold even if you disagree with it. But the biggest problem with illegal immigration is that, much like gun control, it lets the bad guys win. Immigrants who come here legally have been screened to make sure that they don't have a criminal history, understand our history and laws, have a means of supporting themselves, etc. Those who sneak across the border are more likely to traffic in drugs, belong to gangs, etc. Sanctioning illegal immigrants just removes the penalty for lawbreakers who come to this country while limiting the space available for those who come here the right way. It is for this reason that there are, in fact, many Hispanics who are opposed to illegal immigration.
So, what should we do about it? Well, there are approximately 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S. Some have snuck across the border, others have overstayed their VISAs, others had parents who brought them here, etc. Frankly, it would be very difficult and costly to remove this many people from our country. In addition, some of them were brought here by relatives through no fault of their own and have integrated into our communities. People don't want to dump their neighbor Jose, along with his wife and kids, into the middle of gang, drug, and poverty-invested Mexico just because his parents brought him here 20 years ago. And so the answer from the GOP has typically been "secure the border first and then we'll figure out what to with the people who are here". I generally agree with this approach, and I would not even be against amnesty (Reagan wasn't) if only the problem could be prevented from re-occurring in the future. To that end, I have a very simple border security solution.
Build a 30 foot high electric prison-style fence with barbed wire at the top. Clear 100 yards after that, and throw in some randomly placed land mines. Put up signs clearly alerting potential border crossers as to the danger. Follow that up by the Great Wall of China, with machine gun turrets every half a mile. In other words, militarize the border. I guarantee you that not even the most hardened drug gang will get across that thing. Now, I can hear the objections already. It's too expensive! We can't cover that much ground! It's insane! Nonsense. Those are the objections of open borders shills. Here's how you do it. We have 8% un-employment, and liberals are calling for a government jobs program. Fine, put those people to work on building the border fence. Regulating our borders is, after all, one of the responsibilities of the federal government according to the Constitution, so Tea Partiers and constitutional conservatives shouldn't have a problem with it either. But how will we pay for it!? By ending the stalemated war in Afghanistan. It is far more beneficial to our nation's security to put troops on the border instead of sending them over there. We could put half of them on the border in the machine gun towers and still save money. After all, if we can invade an entire nation, surely we can control a one dimensional stretch of border. Once all that is accomplished and illegal immigration drops to zero, then maybe we can deport the violent illegal immigrants and talk about a path to citizenship for the rest of them.
So, what are Rick Perry's problems? In short, he is still a Democrat at heart when it comes to illegal immigration. He passed a law granting in-state tuition to illegal immigrants, and denounced anyone who would oppose him as "heartless". That's a pretty far stretch, considering that if I had a kid in Colorado he couldn't get in-state tuition in Texas. I guess Rick Perry is just "heartless" when it comes to Coloradans. It would be potentially cheaper for me to immigrate to Mexico, have a child, and sneak back into Texas to get him a college education, rather than just to send him to school in Texas from Colorado. Ridiculous. The other strike against Perry is that he opposes a border fence, considering it impractical. According to him, a 30 foot fence would just stimulate the Mexican 35 foot latter industry. This point rings hollow, however; see my border security solution above. Perry's protestations notwithstanding, it is eminently doable to secure the border through solid fortification and abundant policing. Heck, throw in some drones for good measure. I'm sure that with today's technology we could easily identify approaching border crossers in time to intercept them. Oh, and, he apparently proposed bi-national healthcare with Mexico. Seriously, do we not already have enough candidates and presidents with bad healthcare plans?
That's all I got, which is admittedly not much given the size and scope of the issue and discussion. Thankfully, that's why God created Tom Tancredo. I'll close with the email he sent out today, which sums up the pertinent complaints about Perry's positions on immigration from the perspective of the leader of the anti-illegal immigration movement in America:
Obama and Perry-two peas in the immigration pod
I need your help getting the word out on Rick Perry.
Right now Perry is the Republican frontrunner for president-we can't let him win! When it comes to immigration the man is George W. Bush's clone! If Perry gets to the White House we'll be back to fighting massive blanket amnesty for illegal aliens. You can count on it!
At last week's presidential debate Perry had the audacity to call those of us who oppose in-state tuition for illegal aliens HEARTLESS! Only those without hearts, he said, would be against his 2001 signature legislation which made Texas the first state to give in-state tuition to illegal aliens. This phony compassion didn't cost Perry a penny-but it's been costing the taxpayers $100,000 for every illegal alien who took him up on this sweet deal.
The delegates in the hall were astounded at his position and his arrogance, but it came as no surprise to me. Perry has long shown himself to be a name-calling, open border, pro-amnesty politician.
Four years ago I ran for president to pressure the Republican candidates to take a hard line against illegal immigration. For this Perry called me a racist! I called his office and demanded an apology and got nowhere.
That's when I started to take a closer look at Perry and found an alarming pro-illegal immigrant consistency to both the man's words and record.
Perry is for open borders and against building a fence: In a speech in Mexico in 2007, Perry said he supported completely open borders, calling for the "free flow of individuals between these two countries who want to work and want to be an asset to our country and to Mexico." And he came out against building a fence along the U.S.-Mexican border. When in Mexico…
Perry is for massive blanket amnesty: In 2006 Perry came out in favor of blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants, albeit without citizenship, supporting "a guest worker program that takes undocumented workers off the black market and legitimizes their economic contribution."
Perry opposes Arizona's tough anti-illegal immigration law: Perry said of Arizona's tough anti-illegal immigration law, SB 1070, "I have concerns with portions of the law passed in Arizona and believe it would not be the right direction for Texas."
Perry opposes E-Verify--even for state employees: Last year Perry spoke out against using E-Verify even to prevent illegal immigrants from getting jobs as state employees, who get their paychecks from the taxpayers. He insisted it "would not make a hill of beans' difference. Maybe not to Perry it wouldn't--but it would mean a world of difference to some unemployed American workers and their families!
The Governor is running his whole campaign on all the jobs he has created in Texas and says he'll do the same when he is President. Lets' hope not! Of the jobs Perry created since 2007, 81% went to immigrants, 40% to illegal immigrants!!
We can't afford Rick Perry as President. We need someone who will fight to get Americans back to work and our country back on track. Amnesty, in-state tuition, and jobs for illegals, along with open borders, aren't part of that formula! And neither is Rick Perry.
We can beat Obama next year-but we must do it with a strong leader who will secure our borders, enforce our laws, and never give amnesty to illegal immigrants. Our future depends on it! And Rick Perry will do none of that!
Please help me get the word out about Rick Perry. America can't afford four more years of a politically pandering, pro-illegal immigrant president-whether they are Republican or Democrat! We need our laws enforced now!
Team America and I are dedicated to studying every presidential candidate's record and words and will do everything we can to see that Americans elect a president who will stop the invasion across our southern border.
Thanks you for all you do for the cause. God Bless you and God Bless America.