Memo From Middle America (Formerly Known As Memo From Mexico) | Gingrich And Romney Both Grovel On Univision
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Mitt Romney finally said something interesting about (illegal) immigration in Thursday night’s debate:

Our problem is not 11 million grandmothers…Our problem is 11 million people getting jobs that many Americans, legal immigrants, would like to have. It's school kids in schools that districts are having a hard time paying for. It's people getting free health care because we are required under the law to provide that health care.

…even if he did spoil it the next day—Hispandering by promising to work for Puerto Rican statehood.

(As a Spanish-speaker with a Mexican wife, I just don’t think all Hispanics are particularly moved by the prospect of Puerto Rican statehood. And I think Americans should have a say about it. Plus how does Romney reconcile it with his support for Official English—on which I agree with him? I really don't think supporting Puerto Rican statehood is going to win many votes for the GOP, even among Puerto Rican voters. More importantly, Puerto Rico is a distinct society and making it a U.S. state is bad for both the US and Puerto Rico.  The best solution for Puerto Rico is Puerto Rican independence.).

But just as interesting in my opinion: on January 12th, both Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney appeared separately at a Meet the Candidates forum sponsored by the Miami-Dade College and the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. The host: Jorge Ramos of the Spanish-language Univision TV network.

We’ve written about Univision before here at VDARE.COM. Univision (now owned by Israeli-US dual citizen Haim Saban) is more than a media network—it is a media network with an agenda: Hispanicizing the United States. The arrogant blond Mexican Jorge Ramos, now a U.S. citizen but also a dual citizen with Mexico, is its star.

Ramos didn’t become a citizen to assimilate to the United States but to help further the Hispanicization of the United States. As he gloated in a 2007 article, “in a century we [Hispanics] will be the majority in the United States.” [100 Dias Para La Boda,, May 14, 2007].

Several months ago, I reported that some Republican candidates were boycotting a planned debate to be hosted by the Univision network. Unfortunately, this was not a stand on principle but apparently out of fear of Florida’s US Senator Marco Rubio, whom Univision had tried to strong-arm about a story involving his brother’s 1987 cocaine arrest.

But the rumored alternative Telemundo debate never materialized, and Univision (and Gingrich/ Romney) finally got around the boycott problem by having Jorge host  a separate with each of them.

Of course, neither of the candidates, nor anyone else running for nation-wide office in the U.S., should have agreed to be interviewed by Ramos. Spanish-language particularism in the U.S. cannot be tolerated. Tom Tancredo took a principled stand by refusing to participate in the Univision debate in 2008

But as far as Hispandering goes, Gingrich’s performance was worse than worse than Romney’s—marginally. You can see the Gingrich transcript here and watch the interview here.

Gingrich even spoke a little Spanish at the beginning and end of the interview. (Why, if he’s so committed to Official English?). And the supposed scourge of the liberal media flattered Ramos by inviting him to ridicule Romney’s recent discovery of “self-deportation” on the grounds that “You’re a very sophisticated observer…”

Egged on by Jorge Ramos, Gingrich self-righteously pontificated that Romney

“…shows no concern for the humanity of people who are already here. I mean I just think the idea we’re going to deport grandmothers and grandfathers is a sufficient level of inhumanity...”

Gingrich went on and on about deporting “grandmothers and grandfathers”. Is he saying that being an illegal alien grandparent puts you above the law? You don’t even have to be that old to be a grandfather. Gingrich himself is a spry 68-year old grandfather. Does he believe he’s above the law?

Gingrich did try to triangulate. On the one hand, he told Ramos (who clearly didn’t like it) that “you’re not going to get the country to agree to amnesty for 11 million” But, on the other, he said: “Mitt Romney is not going to get the country to agree to kick out grandmothers and grandfathers. So is there a middle ground?”

OK, so what is Gingrich’s “middle ground” between the supposed mass deportation of defenseless grandmothers and getting the country to “agree to amnesty”?

Actually, Gingrich was not at all forthcoming about exactly which illegal aliens would actually be kicked out of the country. He told Ramos that “we need to have a practical, honest conversation about how to have a series of steps that get us to legality for the entire country.”

My emphasis. For the entire country?

Gingrich says we can’t deport grandparents or those who have successfully lived here illegally for 20 years. He says that if illegals join the military", they should become citizens. And he assured Ramos that he has not called for the deportation of illegal alien students.

But Ramos was insistent: what about those who don’t fall into the grandparent, military and student category? What happens to the rest of them?

Newt’s repeated reply: “I would urge them to get a guest worker permit.”

When Ramos objected that they wouldn’t qualify, Newt said no problema:

No, because we’re writing a new law, Jorge. You and I are sitting here talking about a new law. We can write a law which makes them eligible to apply for the guest worker permit.

In other words, legalizing just about everybody is Gingrich’s way of solving the illegal Immigration problem!

How is this different from amnesty?

Birthright citizenship? Newt was asked a question about children of illegal aliens, and he vociferously defended their right to in-state tuition by saying “you would want them to have in-state tuition because they were born in the United States, and why would you discriminate against them?”

So he’s obviously  no help on the birthright citizenship issue.

Gingrich also let Ramos get away with repeating the long-exploded claim that George W. Bush got 44% of the Hispanic vote in 2004, and claiming that the GOP cannot win if 70% of the Hispanics voted Democrats. (“Sure”).

Of course, as has repeatedly demonstrated, this is completely innumerate. White voters outnumber Hispanic voters by a factor of ten, so any conceivable shift in the Hispanic vote could be easily overwhelmed by minute shifts in the white vote.

Bottom line: despite making occasional deceptive noises, Gingrich sounds more and more abysmal on the National Question.

Later on the same day, Ramos interviewed Mitt Romney. You can watch Romney here or see the transcript here.

I guess I’d have to say that Romney’s positions were a little bit better than Gingrich’s—but that’s not saying much. Romney did defend “self-deportation,” E-Verify and employer sanctions. But he felt obliged to assure Ramos that he didn’t believe in “rounding people up”:

”I am not in favor of going around the country trying to round people up and put them in buses and take them across the border.”

Plus Romney goes on and on with his immigration rhetoric:

“I am not anti-immigrant. I’m pro-immigrant. I like immigration. Immigration has been an extraordinary source of strength in this country. As you, I’m sure know immigrants form more businesses than do domestic-born Americans. The immigrant population in this country has created great vitality in our economy as well as in our culture.”

Romney actually says he wants an increase in legal immigration. In fact, he frames his opposition to illegal immigration as a way to protect legal immigration:

“And to protect legal immigration, I think it’s important for people to recognize that illegal immigration has to stop, or there will be an effort to stop legal immigration, or to slow it down, or to hold it down, which is a mistake. I want more, not less legal immigration.”

And Romney defended his opposition to the Dream Act—but made it clear that he didn’t object to illegal aliens attending college!

Like I said, Romney is better than Gingrich on (illegal) immigration. But, alas, that’s not saying much!


American citizen Allan Wall (email him) moved back to the U.S.A. after many years residing in Mexico. In 2005, Allan served a tour of duty in Iraq with the Texas Army National Guard. His VDARE.COM articles are archived here; his articles are archived here; his News With Views columns are archived here; and his website is here.

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