Now, looking at simple arithmetic, Tancredo, Paul and Hunter all have clearly better than average records on immigration. They might actually be willing to deport illegal aliens if elected. Thompson, despite a penchant for H-1b money and a mediocre voting record on immigration, has at least learned to talk tough on the issue of immigration.
NO MATTER WHOM YOU SUPPORT, WHICH CANDIDATEâ€¦? (Among likely Republican caucus-goers)
WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN TO ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS WORKING IN US? GOP IA Caucus likely attendees IA Voters Keep jobs, apply for citizenship 29% 41% Keep jobs only as guest workers 24 23 Leave jobs, leave U.S. entirely 44 34
Agrees w/you Is best on Is most electable on Immigration Romney 30% 26% Huckabee 8 13 Giuliani 38 9 Thompson 6 5 McCain 3 4 Tancredo 1 15 Paul 2 4 Hunter 0 2
Still, what this means is that 18% of the 44% of GOP voters that favor deportation actually think that either Huckabee, McCain, Romney or Giuliani might actually do something close to deportation of illegal aliens if elected.
Now, first off, Romney likes guest worker visas—as we might expect from a rich man with a remarkable ability to take self-serving moral positions. Huckabee has clearly endorsed expansion of guest worker visas.
From Huckabee's site:
"Increase visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants. Expedite processing for those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.
Improve our immigration process so that those patiently and responsibly seeking to come here legally will not have to wait decades to share in the American dream."
"Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years."Now, what is important here:Huckbee has one of the most anti-immigration constituencies of any major candidate. It looks like a big chunk of the electorate are getting snowed by Huckbee and Romney's statements on immigration simply because as governors they having little in the way of voting records on the topic-and most voters can't look at stuff like who these people tended to support politically-and who supports them.
Huckabee at least admits he doesn't understand the immigration issue-and the intensity behind it. Ryan Lizza quotes Mike Huckabee in the New Yorker:
But Huckabeeâ€™s excitement was tempered by Romneyâ€™s persistent attacks on his immigration record as governor of Arkansas, and he seemed to be grappling with the intensity of the question among Republicans. â€?It does appear to be the issue out here wherever we are,â€? he told me. â€?Nobodyâ€™s asked about Iraqâ€”doesnâ€™t ever come up. The first question out of the box, everywhere I goâ€”Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, it doesnâ€™t matterâ€”is immigration. Itâ€™s just red hot, and I donâ€™t fully understand it.â€?I think part of the problem may be in how we in the non-corporate press have analyzed immigration. Hispanic immigration, largely Asian high-tech guest worker immigration and chain migration(of fianc?©es and relatives—the biggest job category of which is "housewife") are lumped into the immigration issue—but they all have rather different dynamics.
Still, there is a fundamental issue of denial on just how important the immigration issue is-and how hard it will be to really address the issue. If Huckabee or Romney are elected president, I fully expect to see a significant expansion of Guest Worker Visas—and worsening job prospects for Americans—particularly young and poor Americans. The simple fact is that most Americans want less immigration-even if they don't want poor people people to pay the price of a transition to such a policy.
If Huckabee or Romney are elected, I fully expect the Republican party will be even further discredited, and that issue of jobs will become an even more important Democratic issue, and more Democrats will get even cooler on corporate sponsored immigration.