Of the three candidates who declared last week for the 2024 GOP presidential nomination, former Vice President Mike Pence might seem the best qualified—which isn’t saying a whole lot [Pence announces 2024 White House run, arguing Trump ‘should never’ be president again, by Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN, June 7, 2023]. Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s best days lie far in the past, while North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum has zero name recognition beyond his home state. Pence has high name recognition, and significant support among donors, evangelicals, and the party Establishment. Despite polling behind Nikki Haley, high unfavorability ratings, and Trump’s relentless animosity, he might have a shot. Assuming that, the important question for immigration patriots is his immigration record. Here, despite positive changes recently, the key fact is that Pence betrayed immigration patriot Tom Tancredo to support Amnesty during the Bush Blight. For that reason alone, he can never be trusted.
Pence’s immigration record before 2016 was one of the worst among prominent Republicans. In 2006, then U.S. Rep. Pence, who represented Indiana-2, proposed his own Amnesty. He fronted the Pence Plan at the behest of Treason Lobby Mistress Helen Krieble of the horsey set. Amusingly—or not!—the Amnesty was considered the “conservative” alternative to the John McCain-Ted Kennedy plan backed by the Treason Lobby. Nothing was “conservative” about it, but that didn’t stop Conservatism, Inc., from supporting it. It would have legalized millions of illegals. The only difference between it and McKennedy was that corporations and megawealthy GOP donors like Krieble would decide how many “guest workers” should flood the American job market. Pence claimed it was the Christian thing to do, and that Ronald Reagan, the man who supposedly made Pence a conservative, would have supported it.
Pence backed it on Krieble’s orders. And he absurdly claimed it was not an Amnesty. He cited his own immigrant ancestry—his Irish grandfather was an Ellis Islander—to justify rewarding illegal aliens. Insultingly, Pence said Amnesty was a critical test for the American Right. “It’s a test of the character of the conservative movement in the 21st century,” he said. “We are either going to prove that we believe in the ideas enshrined on the Statue of Liberty or the American people will go looking elsewhere” [Star of the Right Loses His Base at the Border, by Jason DeParle, New York Times, August 29, 2006].
Fortunately, conservatives “failed” Pence’s fraudulent test. They rejected Amnesty, and him.
Pence ducked the immigration issue after that. After Trump picked him for VP—against Ann Coulter’s advice—he largely parroted his boss’s views. During the GOP primaries, Pence had condemned Trump’s “Muslim ban” as “offensive and unconstitutional,” but then, as vice president, defended it [Pence once called Trump’s Muslim ban ‘unconstitutional.’ He now applauds the ban on refugees., by Avi Selk, Washington Post, January 28, 2017]. (To Pence’s credit, as governor of Indiana, he had tried to block Syrian “migrants” from his state. A federal court, led by Reagan appointee Judge Richard Posner, stymied that attempt [Federal Court Blocks Gov. Pence’s Attempt To Bar Syrian Refugees From Indiana, by Nina Totenberg, NPR, October 3, 2016].) Pence also defended Trump’s calls to end Birthright Citizenship [Vice President Mike Pence says Trump’s plan to curb Birthright Citizenship may be constitutional, by Maureen Groppe, USA Today, October 30, 2018]. He attacked Democrats for supporting Open Borders. He even defended Trump’s “s***hole countries” comment, saying the president favors an immigration system “that puts the interests of Americans first” [Pence defends Trump on ‘s***hole’ countries remark, by Ken Thomas, Associated Press, January 22, 2018].
But despite the outward appearance of loyalty to Trump, Pence wasn’t a true convert. In 2019 at a naturalization ceremony, he proudly declared that “America has the most generous system of legal immigration in the history of the world” [Pence touts ‘most generous system of legal immigration’ during naturalization ceremony, by Betsy Klein, CNN, July 4, 2019].
The same year, Pence was heavily involved in a White House immigration plan. That Jared Kushner–led effort never fully materialized, but it apparently would have boosted legal immigration and even offered some form of Amnesty.
And Pence was pushing it leftwards. “[Pence] recognizes the crisis on the southern border but also understands that there are people who add to our economy and are doing this because they’re seeking employment and, frankly, in jobs that Americans aren’t willing to do at this point, so there is a need,” an unidentified Pence associate said [Immigration activists stew over Pence’s role on immigration plan, by Anita Kumar and Daniel Lippman, Politico, May 18, 2019].
If that statement isn’t a red flag, nothing is. Pence still wanted more cheap foreign labor. We have no reason to believe he has changed his mind now.
Of course, these days, Pence is smart enough to keep those Leftist, Open-Borders views to himself. He knows it would sink his chances, and so he sticks to the basic standard.
He (or a staffer) even offered a decent plan for immigration in his 2022 “Freedom Agenda,” meant to be a GOP platform for the midterms. Under “secure the southern border of the United States and end illegal immigration,” it actually suggested restricting legal immigration:
“The policies that the administration has implemented are not a reflection of incompetence,” Pence said last year. “The truth of the matter is the Democratic Party today is largely dominated by the radical left. And on their agenda is the goal of open borders, plain and simple” [Mike Pence calls for return to Trump-era immigration policies in Phoenix speech, by Jeremy Duda, Axios, June 13, 2022].
While the Freedom Agenda sounds solid, Pence hasn’t spoken much about immigration since that border speech. Instead, he’s delivered Republican bromides about a hawkish foreign policy and fiscal conservatism. Immigration hardly figured in his announcement speech. He seems more focused on talking about how Trump is “disqualified” for office than bringing attention to the border invasion [Pence opens presidential bid with denunciation of Trump over Jan. 6 insurrection and abortion, by Jill Colvin and Thomas Beaumont, Associated Press, June 7, 2023].
Again to Pence’s credit, though, he’s one of the few Republican leaders to call Critical Race Theory what it is: anti-white. While campaigning for future Virginia governor Glenn Youngkin in 2021, Pence called CRT “state-sanctioned racism” that teaches white kids to “be ashamed of their skin color.” That’s more than what most Republicans have said or will say [Mike Pence rails against ’racist’ public education at a private Christian college in Virginia, by Eliza Relman, Business Insider, October 28, 2021].
As for Pence’s chances, the Real Clear Politics average as of June 11 put him at 4.3 points, which is only slightly ahead of Nikki Haley, who is polling at 4.0. Forget Trump. Pence isn’t even close to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s 23.5.
But forget the numbers. The real problem: Pence is a cuck. As president or even nominee, which would give him control of the party, he would restore the GOP to its old Business First status quo. On trade and foreign policy and all-important “civility,” he’s another Paul Ryan.
Also, he (or his donors) are obsessed with January 6. Pence has repeatedly condemned Trump’s action. Additionally, he says he will not pardon any J6 protester.
Pence says during his CNN town hall that he has no interest in pardoning people convicted of crimes in connection with January 6, saying he stands by "due process" pic.twitter.com/9AoWO6YpqI— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) June 8, 2023
Pence may campaign as an immigration patriot. But he cannot be trusted not to sell out the Historic American Nation. He’s already tried to do it once.