Saturday, May 19, 2007

Illegal Immigration: One Candidate with A Concrete Idea

Is there anyone else willing to put forth a specific idea, rather than simply stating a "principle?"

Update: Commenter Robert, below, refers to Captain Ed's suggestion that Romney's prior statements on immigration line up with McCain-Kennedy. Ed is wrong on this one, as NRO's Jim Geraghty seems to concede here. Poor Governor Romney has so many people eager to catch him changing his position on every issue that they seem to find position changes under every bed. It's going to take Romney a while to get past that-- and it may stick, if the MSM and his opponents are successful in making that happen.

Here's the basis for Captain Ed's suggestion, from the first televised Republican debate:

MR. WALLACE: Governor Romney, you have also called Senator McCain's immigration plan amnesty. Are you prepared to say that sharing the stage with him tonight? And how do you explain your statement to the Lowell Sun last year in which you said, quote, "Those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process toward application for citizenship as they would from their home country." Why isn't that amnesty as well, sir?

MR. ROMNEY: Well, my view is this. People should have no advantage by having come here illegally.

MR. WALLACE: But you're not telling them to go home, sir.

MR. ROMNEY: I am going to tell them to go home, but they start by beginning the process of applying for citizenship. But I do not believe -- or applying for permanent residency. They're not going to be barred from doing that, but they do not get any advantage by having come here illegally. That's the key part of what I objected to in McCain-Kennedy.

McCain-Kennedy, what it did is said that people who are here illegally get a special pathway. They're not like all the other immigrants in the world that want to come to this great country; they get a special pathway. That's what's wrong about it. If you're here illegally, you should not have a special pathway to become a permanent resident.My view, you have to secure the border, number one, have an employment verification system, number two, and number three, say to those that are there illegally, get in line with everybody else; you're not going to have a special doorway, any particular advantage, by having come here illegally, to become a permanent resident. [Emphasis added.]

Captain Ed asks:

Well, if this bill has the touchback provision, and it has the Z-visa and the formal guest-worker program, and really secures the border, then it meets his requirements . . . doesn't it?

Well, no. Romney's web site spells out his current position:

I strongly oppose today's bill going through the Senate. It is the wrong approach. Any legislation that allows illegal immigrants to stay in the country indefinitely, as the new 'Z-Visa' does, is a form of amnesty. That is unfair to the millions of people who have applied to legally immigrate to the U.S.

That's always been Romney's position. Geraghty quotes an e-mailer on this:

In the debate (as quoted by Ed), Governor Romney said, 'If you're here illegally, you should not have a special pathway to become a permanent resident.' An indefinitely renewable Z-visa is precisely such a special pathway to permanent residency.

I don't see any inconsistency in Romney's position on this. In fact, Andrew McCarthy at NRO beleives Romney is "seizing the day" on the immigration issue.

Geraghty has more here.

Matt Lewis also tries to stick Romney with flip-flopping:

I also wanted to point out that, as recently as 2005, Gov. Mitt Romney essentially endorsed McCain's immigration stance. According to yesterday's Boston Globe, in 2005, Romney ... described immigration proposals by McCain and others as "quite different" from amnesty, because they required illegal immigrants to register with the government, work for years, pay taxes, not take public benefits, and pay a fine before applying for citizenship.

"That's very different than amnesty, where you literally say, 'OK, everybody here gets to stay,' " Romney said in the interview. "It's saying you could work your way into becoming a legal resident of the country by working here without taking benefits and then applying and then paying a fine."

I don't see Romney endorsing anything there. Nothing in that statement is necessarily inconsistent with his statement that "If you're here illegally, you should not have a special pathway to become a permanent resident." Please note: The Z-Visa idea dispenses with any requirement for an illegal to become a permanent resident other than showing up and applying. That's not what Romney is talking about in the quoted segment just above. People need to get over their "Romney is a flip-flopper" fetish.


Blogger Robert said...

The problem with this is that it seems to conflict with Romney's 2005 position, as cited in the comments at Hugh's blog among other places (though not by Hugh of course). It seems too much like an(other) election year conversion from Romney for my comfort. I appreciate the words...I just question the will.

Saturday, May 19, 2007 4:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon, Hedgehog ... you must be the only guy in America (Romney included) who doesn't know that Romney is the Big Flipper. He says whatever he thinks it will take to win votes from whomever he's schmoozing at the moment. McCain nailed his sorry rear end on that subject in last week's debate. Just take abortion, for one thing ... or his "lifetime hunter" crock. And now immigration - his principled position on immigration is "Whatever John McCain supports on immigration, I'm against .... even though I have no good ideas of my own as to what America should do to solve its immigration problems".

Aside from the Big Flipper being a registered serial flip-flopper, his criticism of the current compromise bill (which he had not read yet, because it had not even been printed and distributed yet) is fatuous. If his position is that we cannot allow any "special treatment" be given to illegals, and said special treatment includes (as Romney points out) granting any kind of legal status whatsoever for current illegals, then, ipso facto, the only possible response to preserve due respect for our laws can only be to simply deport them all, immediately (which, of course, ain't ever gonna happen). Of course, Romney would never admit to being for mass deportation, because that is a loser politically - even within the Republican Party a recent poll by Gallup (April, 2007) revealed that only 14% of Republicans favor mass deportation of illegals. But, again, following the logic and inevitable outcome of Romney's criticism being implemented as policy, if current illegals can be allowed no legal status whatsoever, under a Z visa or any other mechanism, then the only possible outcome to prevent continued mass lawbreaking is to round'em all up and deport them, today. Again, Romney will never actually say that, because he knows it's a loser politically, and God forbid he ever says anything that he thinks will cost him a vote or two.

Romney is one of those guys who never shuts up and never puts up. He never did anything about immigration or abortion or any other of his current "core issues" while serving a single term as Governor of a blue state. Now that he's trying to pander to the Christian Right in the Republican Presidential nominating contest, you'd think he was Jerry Falwell reborn.

That, of course, is why Romney is mired in single digits nationwide and in all of the big state polls. The only state he leads is New Hampshire (barely), where he's practically a native son, being from the next door neighboring state of MA. In all the big states that, unlike prior elections are all voting on or before February 5 (after which the nominating race will be all but over) including FL, CA, OH, TX, PA, NY, etc, Romney's a single digit third rate (fourth of fifth place) candidate.

Hedgehog - it's OK that you support your guy Romney, but you don't help your credibility any by denying what is obviously true about the guy - i.e., that he's the Big Flipper of the Republican Party, and as a result he is never going to be its nominee.

Sunday, May 20, 2007 6:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And one other thing, Hedgehog: if Romney wants to take a principled stand on immigration, it would be that he supports the efforts of the President and the Republican Senate leadership to work with the opposition to craft a bipartisan immigration bill that seals the border, allows America to know who is here and why, and deport those who threaten us, that supplies the necessary labor that our farms and industries need, and that respects human dignity. He further commits to read and understand the current compromise bill as written, and to the extent that the bill needs revision and improvement, he will offer his recommendations to the Senate leaders.

That's all the guy needed to say, and is what he should have said. Instead, he was just looking for cheap headlines at the expense of the guy he perceives is his principal political challenger (as if ... he might want to add in Giuliani, Thompson, and Gingrich who all poll well ahead of Romney). In reality Romney goes after McCain because he knows he can't touch the other guys.

Sunday, May 20, 2007 6:35:00 AM  

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