The VRWC is abuzz over Newt Gingrich’s comments on Immigration in last night’s debate. I am not currently a supporter of the Speaker’s campaign but I am confused as to what all the fuss is. Video of his remarks can be seen here.
The controversy centers on Newt’s belief that illegal aliens in the US for 25 years or more should have a way to be here legally based on their ties to the community and their contribution to it.
Beyond that, Gingrich said 1) we should seal the borders, 2) short term illegal aliens should either leave or we should deport them; 3) we should institute a guest worker program; 4) we should crack down on employers who hire illegal aliens, and; 5) we ought to have a formal review board to examine the cases individually.
Romney and Bachmann took the Speaker to task, saying this is essentially amnesty and would continue to be a magnet attracting illegal aliens. Yet their Immigration policies are essentially the same as Newt’s.
This is the first reason why I am not upset with Newt. On Immigration policy, the candidates mostly agree. Some will oppose Newt on long term illegal aliens but his view is a far cry from amnesty or magnetizing the US. He was clear about guest worker programs and employer enforcement. Most illegal aliens are here for the work. If a guest worker program exists, employers are held to the law and a path to citizenship is off the table, there is no magnet.
Nashville radio host Michael DelGiorno said it best. He noted the similarity of fighting Newt on this to a schism in the pro-Life ranks. Newt is analogous to the staunchly pro-Life guy who would permit abortions in the case of rape or incest. We can vilify him for caving to the evil empire of abortionists and press the battle for 100% purity of doctrine or we can recognize we are essentially in agreement and move on to truly substantive disagreements. I vote for moving on.
Finally, Newt’s position is little different from that of most Conservatives and the GOP during the last national debate on Immigration policy. Then, Democrats torpedoed Immigration Reform because it wasn’t “comprehensive,” insisting every last detail be resolved before actually doing anything. We argued for sealing the border yesterday and then having a conversation about what to do with illegal aliens already here. We weren’t opposed to the comprehensive part, just to achieving a state of comprehensiveness before acting.
Ignorant, foolish, ill advised Democrat obstructionism carried the day; stripping us of even minor efforts to address the problem and proving a boon for Democrats in the form of potential Democrat voters. This is revelatory of just how strongly Democrats are motivated by partisan political gain as opposed to doing what is best for the nation as a whole. Now we have a choice: behave like Democrats in the face of minor disagreements or behave like Conservatives and Republicans and acknowledge the disagreement, place it in its proper context, debate it there and move on.
The view Newt Gingrich articulated last night fits comfortably into the GOP/Conservative position of a few years ago. Seal the borders and then let’s talk about what to do with the folks that are here. I am unaware of a candidate sharing the stage with him who would disagree. But trying to make him out to be a raving Liberal for allowing a specific segment of the illegal alien population to remain here legally without becoming citizens would seem to be GOP candidates and their supporters distorting the discussion for their political gain much as Democrats did years ago.
We can disagree with Newt here but this should not be a distraction from other, more important, discussions. Trying to KO Gingrich on this is creating a fight where none really exists and is an exercise in politics, not governance and policy. As I have said before, good politics breeds bad policy. By all means, let’s discuss Immigration policy. But let’s do it without hysterics, histrionics and circular firing squads. I’m happy to leave that to the OWS Party and their drum circles …
Discretion, Not Amnesty by Andrew McCarthy @ NRO’s The Corner;