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Rudy Mitt Huckabee By: Don Feder
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, December 12, 2007

On the issue of illegal immigration, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Huckabee, and Mitt Romney have begun doing passable impressions of Lou Dobbs. But can you trust a candidate whose record contradicts his campaign rhetoric?

At the recent CNN/YouTube debate, Romney and Rudy squared off on what's shaping up to be the defining issue of Campaign 2008 -- with the ferocity of rabid mongooses.

Rudy -- who wants to "secure the border" (is there anyone, including Hillary, who says they don't?) -- bragged that as mayor of New York he reported to the feds every illegal who committed murder, rape or child molestation.

Romney shot back: if they're here illegally, they're already criminals. At the same time, the former Massachusetts governor admitted he doesn't favor deporting all illegals who are caught, but they shouldn't get government benefits, he resolutely declared.

Romney accused Giuliani of operating a sanctuary city (true). Rudy accused Mitt of running a "sanctuary mansion" -- employing illegals to do yard work at his Belmont home. (Who knows?)

Earlier, Mike Huckabee -- who also says he wants to secure the Southern demarcation, and opposes amnesty and sanctuary cities -- unveiled a comprehensive plan (you should pardon the expression) for immigration reform -- which consists of sending his most prominent supporter, action star Chuck Norris, to the border. That's how serious the debate has become.

Just a few years ago, all three were singing a different tune -- which harmonized like the Three Tenors; call them The Three Amigos.


  • Ran a sanctuary city and was darned proud of it. "There are times when undocumented workers (code for illegal aliens) must have protection," he insisted then. He praised the "courage and ambition" it takes "to leave your native country and start a new life in a new land" -- and to begin by breaking the laws of that new land, refusing to learn its language, scarfing government benefits, taking jobs from those who are there legitimately (immigrant and native born) and perhaps committing a more serious crime or two.
  • In 1994, he told an audience, "If you come here and you work hard and you happen to be in an undocumented status, you're one of the people who we want in this city."
  • In 1996, Giuliani compared immigration reform advocates to the Know Nothing Party. "The anti-immigration issue that's now sweeping the country in my view is no different than the movements that swept the country in the past. You look back at the Chinese Exclusionary Act, or the Know-Nothing movement -- these were movements that encouraged Americans to fear foreigners, to fear something that is different, and to stop immigration." Besides the smear -- comparing a majority of concerned Americans to racists and xenophobes -- we should fear those who infiltrate our borders, who may have criminal records or terrorist ties. We should also fear the effect on national unity of those who don't learn English and won't identify with America (witness all of the Mexican flags at illegals' demonstrations last year).
  • In 2000, Rudy boasted, "There isn't a mayor or a public official in this country that's more strongly pro-immigrant (another euphemism) than I am, including disagreeing with President Clinton when he signed anti-immigrant legislation (cutting off a few benefits to some illegals) about two or three years ago, which we got some amendments of [sic.] to protect the rights of immigrants."
Then there's Mitt Romney:

  • As Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby notes, Romney generally ignored illegal immigration when he ran for the Senate (1994) and governor (2002).
  • However, in 2005 he did pause to remark that undocumented workers "contribute in many cases to our economy and our society." Yep, in a technology driven, information economy, we certainly need more unskilled workers with 6th grade educations.
  • "I don't believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country," Romney informed the Lowell Sun in 2006. How about forcing out those we catch? No? Then you believe that some laws (including those safeguarding our national sovereignty) shouldn't be enforced, Governor.
  • In November 2005, Romney didn't oppose the McCain plan, which went down in flaming defeat in the Senate this spring. (He then described it as "very different than amnesty.") Now, he was always against it -- after he was for it.
  • So, what to do with 12 million to 15 million illegal immigrants? First, Romney wants to register them. (What makes him think they'll comply?) Then, some will be repatriated and others will begin "the process of applying for citizenship and establishing legal status." Sounds like qualified amnesty, which Mitt swears it isn't.
  • Who goes and who stays? "Those that have committed crimes should be taken out of the country. Those that are in our jails should be taken out of the country. Those on welfare, require government assistance, should leave the country." And the rest get a stay-in-the-country free card.
The foregoing notwithstanding, the candidate immigration-reform advocates fear most is none other than Mike Huckabee:

  • "He was an absolute disaster as governor" of Arkansas, Roy Beck of NumbersUSA told The Washington Times (as reported in a November 30th story). "Every time there was any enforcement in his state, he took the side of illegals."
  • "Huckabee is the guy who scares the heck out of me," says Peter Gadiel of 9/11 Families for a Secure America, a group the Times described as "instrumental in fighting for the REAL ID Act that sets federal standards for drivers licenses."
  • When a measure to require verified identification for voting and to deny taxpayer-funded benefits and services to illegals came before the Arkansas state legislature while he was governor, Huckabee described it as "inflammatory...race-baiting and demagoguery." He's also compared opposition to illegal immigration to the die-hard segregationist response to the Civil Rights movement.
  • I still get a lump in my throat whenever I recall the Huckster's explanation of why he supported (and still supports) government benefits for the children of illegal aliens: "I looked into the eyes of immigrant Mexican children and was moved." He should look into the eyes of those killed by "immigrant drivers" or the families of the three college-bound black teens who were murdered, execution-style, by illegal aliens in Newark in August, or the blue-collar worker who lost his job to an illegal.
  • Despite his current attempts to blend with the national mood, Huckabee's true colors shone forth in the CNN debate, when he tried to defend his support for scholarships for illegals. The Huck said: "In all due respect, we are a better country than to punish children for what their parents did." The alternative is to reward them for what their parents did -- with welfare, subsidized housing, free medical care -- and taxpayer-funded higher education. Does Huckabee really expect Mexicans to stay home, after they learn about all the free stuff their kids will get if they come here illegally?
One man who can't hide from his record is Senator John McCain -- but that hasn't stopped him from trying to rationalize it.

"The reason most Americans want border security is that they want to cut off the flow of people coming to the country illegally, and then address the issue of a temporary worker program," McCain recently told a student in South Carolina.

What McCain resolutely refuses to understand is that border security doesn't stop at the border. If there's enforcement at the border but nowhere else, it won't stop the flow of people coming to the country illegally.

If we build an electrified wall 50-feet high (with sensors, watchtowers and gun-turrets) at the border -- but once you get past the border there's a chance you'll be amnestied or guest-workered or put on the proverbial path to citizenship -- that won't stop the flow of people coming into the country.

"You'll have to explain to me how you round up 12 million people. There's not 12 million pairs of handcuffs," McCain glibly observes, waving his favorite red herring.

So, lets stop raiding the employers of illegals. Because we can't catch all 12 million who are here illegally, let's stop all internal enforcement.

There are somewhere between 90,000 and 130,000 forcible rapes in this country each year. Most of the perpetrators are never caught. We probably don't have 100,000 pairs of handcuffs, so -- what the heck -- let's stop trying to apprehend rapists.

In reality, enforcement is the essence of simplicity -- every one you catch, you send back. Each illegal immigrant repatriated won't commit a crime, scam government services, contribute to language fragmentation or take away the job of a low-wage earning American.

In explaining the need for a "temporary worker program," McCain confides that "Hispanic workers" rebuilt the Gulf Coast states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. "It's just a fact. And there are jobs Americans will not do in this country."

Wait, $20-an-hour construction jobs would go begging if it weren't for illegals? Apparently, they don't teach economics at the Naval Academy.

The reason companies that employ illegals got most of the reconstruction work after Katrina is because they were able to undercut the competition by paying their workers less -- not because Americans don't want construction work.

So, who's good on immigration? How about the unassuming guy from Tennessee?

According to The Washington Times story mentioned earlier, "On Thanksgiving, Mr. Beck wrote an e-mail to his supporters (at NumbersUSA) praising the immigration plan of Fred Thompson...who has called for attrition through enforcement."

Thompson is opposed to amnesty and a guest worker program. He wants to end chain migration.

He's the only credible GOP candidate who has a realistic immigration plan. (Duncan Hunter is great. Tom Tancredo led the charge in Congress. Both have as much chance of becoming president as Ramos and Compean -- the martyred Border Patrol agents.)

Thompson's plan includes attrition through enforcement, double the number of ICE agents, increase the Border Patrol to at least 25,000, increase detention space for captured illegals (instead of catch-and-release, pending a hearing), implementing an expedited deportation process already allowed under federal law, and enabling the Social Security Administration to share information with immigration and law enforcement agencies.

More importantly, unlike Rudy Mitt Huckster, Thompson's current positions aren't contradicted by his record in office.

In the spring of 2006, I warned that the president's amnesty plan would result in his party's loss of Congress. (Welcome Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid.)

The amnesty act was overwhelmingly defeated not by talk-show hosts or immigration activists (though both played a part), but by the American people -- whose frustration and rage turned around 17 Senate votes in 72 hours.

Michael Barone, a senior writer for U.S. News & World Report, observes that if you listened carefully to the public during the Senate debate, you didn't hear racism, or anti-Hispanic hysteria, "you heard something else. They want the current law enforced. It bothers them that we have something like 12 million illegal immigrants in the country. It bothers them that most of the southern border is unfenced and unpatrolled. It bothers them that illegal immigrants routinely use forged documents to get jobs -- or are given jobs with no documents at all."

Their votes will not be won with talk of border enforcement alone. They will not be won with proposals for guest-worker programs or plans to "register" illegals so we can then proceed to deal with them. And they won't be won by "conservatives" who demonstrate their compassion with scholarships for the children of illegals.

The outcome of the 2008 election could hinge on the GOP choosing a candidate who can credibly address the illegal immigration crisis.

This column originally appeared on GrassTopsUSA.com and appears here with the author's permission.

Don Feder is a former Boston Herald writer who is now a political/communications consultant. He also maintains his own website, DonFeder.com.

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