"No more Mister Nice Guy," he was telling his state's estimated 80,000 illegal aliens. Political opponents who want his job and the illegal alien apologists jumped all over what they said was an election year stunt.
Looks like they may have been right, but Pawlenty wasn't finished with showing folks just how badly he wants to remain in the governor's mansion. In fact, he also let it be known that illegal aliens are not alone in having to watch their backs these days.
Only a few weeks later (probably at the insistence of his campaign handlers), Mr. Law Enforcement morphed into Pandering Pawlenty and began falling over himself in order to demonstrate that Minnesota also was very much an "immigrant-friendly" state.
Among the "Ya all come" goodies he waved in front of immigrant wannabees and foreign students already studying in the "Land of 10,000 Lakes" was a promise to go to Washington and lobby for more H-1B visas because the "artificial cap" of 65,000 wasn't cutting the mustard.
This week he made good on that promise.
After kissing up to Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), anotherH-1B huckster, here is what Pandering Pawlenty told the native-born kids (and their parents) of Minnesota who are pursuing (or thinking about it) careers in computer science, medicine, mathematics, etc:
There shouldn't be any cap on H-1B visas. (Shades of Sen. Arlen Specter!)
"But 65,000 is ridiculously low, given how thirsty we are for engineers, researchers, computer programmers - we've got a big shortage in a lot of these areas," (said Pawlenty). "We'd have an inverse brain drain into this country which would be very beneficial" with an increase in the visas."
The "shortage" of American-trained high-tech professional that Pandering Pawlenty is referring to in his state is the same one that has plagued the high-tech industry for years.
Pawlenty probably would deny he's now dancing to the music of a greedy and unprincipled high-tech industry and is only responding to statistics showing that enrollment in computer science courses around the country is tanking. And he would be half right. But what he can't deny is that now we all know why interest in a field that was red hot for Americans 25 years has waned dramatically.
During a Feb. 7 "Lou Dobbs Tonight" interview, Ron Hira of the Rochester Institute of Technology reiterated to CNN reporter Bill Tucker what we've all known for some time:
"If there's not good opportunities, why would you choose a profession, a career that's fraught with risk, where your job could be offshored, where you could be replaced, you could become obsolete? And they're (Americans) voting with their feet. They've decided that this profession is not as attractive as it once was."
When the history of how this country surrendered its lead in fields it pioneered using home-grown talent is written, we'll probably be told that it was because those jobs joined the others "Americans won't do." The more astute observer, however, will know it was due to the decades-long brain drain on Capitol Hill.