On the illegal immigration front, Newt Gingrich has a point. And, in all fairness, the right position when it comes to those illegals who have been here in the USA for many years.
Let's be real: "Send them all back" was, in reality, never an option. Millions have lived here, raised families here, worked here, contributed here, stayed out of trouble here, and are going to stay here.
That's the reality of it.
First, the alternative. I listened to another of the contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, Rick Santorum, argue to William Bennett on the latter's radio show yesterday morning the hard-line approach. Santorum holds that, to be straight with the law, we should be prepared to send back each and all of those foreigners living in this country, no matter how long they've been here. When Bennett asked about that former Mexican who has lived here for a quarter century, raised kids here (all of whom become American citizens at birth), if Santorum was prepared to separate that person from his or her family and go through the deportation process, the former senator from Pennsylvania was forced to answer yes. But you could tell from his voice that he didn't want to be there in the conversation, and quickly pivoted to a more generalized discussion of the topic.
I couldn't blame him for feeling defenseless at that moment.
Leaving aside the issue itself, we all need to understand that that is the single-most damaging accusation that Democrats throw at conservatives. They - we - are cold-hearted sonsabitchas. And there is no more useful tool in their kit to win over independent voters than that. Because of that, Santorum will be eaten alive in a general election.
Leaving the mechanics and politics aside, here's reality - like it or not - as articulated by Newt Gingrich:
I do not believe that the people of the United States are going to take people who have been here a quarter century, who have children and grandchildren, who are members of the community, who may have done something 25 years ago, separate them from their families and expel them. I do believe if you’ve been here recently and have no ties to the U.S., we should deport you. I do believe we should control the border. I do believe we have various penalties for employers, but I urge you to look at the Krieble Foundation plan. The party that says it’s the party of the family is not going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families who have been here a quarter century. I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.There is a lot there. And a lot worth considering. Newt's points:
1) Protect the borders. Truly protect the borders (don't play with them - cynically - like George W. Bush and Barack Obama have done). Stop the flow of illegals into this country.
2) "I do not believe that the people of the United States are going to take people who have been here a quarter century, who have children and grandchildren, who are members of the community, who may have done something 25 years ago, separate them from their families and expel them." That's an inarguable fact.
3) Those illegals who sneaked across our borders recently and have no ties to the USA should be sent packing.
4) That which should hit home with every conservative in the land: "The party that says it’s the party of the family is not going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families who have been here a quarter century."
5) "[L]et’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families."
He might have added (6) and (7):
6) Those who - at any time - break our laws - again - no matter how long they've lived here - get sent back. Family or no, they - like the rest of us - live by our rules.
7) If we are to give them guest worker visas - or some such - they or their spouses have to be workers. Gainfully employed. Not leeches (like so many born-and-bred Americans have become).
As for a path to citizenship, there should be none. They came here illegally. Nothing will alter that fact. They want to be Americans, they go back from where they came and do it the right way.
Compassion here is the key. In heated moments, we can all say, "Hell, yes. Send all ten million Mexicans back." But really? Really?
Newt has taken some flack from the Right for this. Rush went after him the other day (though mostly as a matter of tactics than for the position itself). And, of course, all the other candidates have pounded on him, thinking there's an opportunity to gain points with the conservative wing of the Republican Party for his candid appraisal of the American spirit.
Sure we all want illegal immigration to stop. And we can stop it (though not with doofus remaining in the White House). But reality - as it pertains to those millions who are already here and who have settled into normal American lives - dictates that we be - dare I say it - compassionate. And realistic.
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To those who will disagree, I provide food for thought:
Adjective: doctrinaire däktrəˈne(ə)r
1. Stubbornly insistent on theory without regard for practicality or suitability
Noun: doctrinaire däktrəˈne(ə)r
1. A stubborn person of arbitrary or arrogant opinions
That is not who we are. That is who they are.