By the time the GOP debate finally cast its boring eye to immigration tonight, I was half asleep. Despite the guest appearance of an anchorman from Telemundo to deliver the question, Bachman at least gave an answer we can get excited about. Here's a "best/worst of" from each candidate on tonight's debate, with my comments in brackets (transcript at PajamasMedia):
PERRY: We think predator drones could be flown, that real-time information coming down to the local and the state and the federal law enforcement. And you can secure the border. And at that particular point in time, then you can have an intellectually appropriate discussion about immigration reform. [And then what, Governor? Amnesty, you say?]
For the President of the United States to go to El Paso, Texas, and say that the border is safer than it’s ever been, either he has some of the poorest intel of a president in the history of this country, or he was an abject liar to the American people. It is not safe on that border.
ROMNEY: If we want to secure the border, we have to make sure we have a fence, technologically, determining where people are, enough agents to oversee it, and turn off that magnet [jobs]. We can’t talk about amnesty, we cannot give amnesty to those who have come here illegally.
GINGRICH: We ought to control the border, we ought to have a legal guest worker program. We ought to outsource it, frankly, to American Express, Visa, and MasterCard, so there’s no counterfeiting, which there will be with the federal government.
We should make English the official language of government. [Huge applause! Hello! Did anyone up there behind a podium notice this?!]
And then find a way to deal with folks who are already here, some of whom, frankly, have been here 25 years, are married with kids, live in our local neighborhood, go to our church. It’s got to be done in a much more humane way than thinking that to automatically deport millions of people.
SANTORUM: Look, I’m the son of an Italian immigrant, ...etc.[ Gag me with a spoon.]
BACHMAN: In Mexico right now, we’re dealing with narco terrorists. This is a very serious problem. To not build a border or a fence on every part of that border would be, in effect, to yield United States sovereignty not only to our nation anymore, but to yield it to another nation. That we cannot do.
The Hispanic-American community wants us to stop giving taxpayer- subsidized benefits to illegal aliens and benefits, and they want us to stop giving taxpayer-subsidized benefits to their children as well.
One thing that we do know, our immigration law worked beautifully back in the 1950s, up until the early 1960s, when people had to demonstrate that they had money in their pocket, they had no contagious diseases, they weren’t a felon. They had to agree to learn to speak the English language, they had to learn American history and the Constitution.
And the one thing they had to promise is that they would not become a burden on the American taxpayer. That’s what we have to enforce. [Wow! Now that's what I like to hear! The only thing missing is a tie in to current unemployment. ]
CAIN: Let’s promote the path to citizenship that’s already there...
Empower the states to do what the federal government hasn’t done, can’t do, and won’t do. This is how we solve the entire problem.
HUNTSMAN: I have two daughters that came to this country, one from China, one from India, legally. I see this issue through their eyes,...etc. [Yawn. But I bet we won't be seeing any seven-child parents behind the Democrat podiums! Here there are two, Santorum being the second.]
Let’s not lose sight of the fact that our legal immigration system is broken. And if we want to do something about attracting brain power to this country, if we want to lift real estate values.
For example, why is it that Vancouver is the fastest-growing real estate market in the world today? They allow immigrants in legally, and it lifts all boats.
PAUL: Every time you think of fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in.
Roy Beck at NumbersUSA notes that Romney was best on the unemployment issue of immigration, but that aside, this choosy begger (moi) opts for Bachman this round. Her unapologetic message had a little flair that made it, frankly, more convincing.