The Republican Debate in New Hampshire

Here are some quick quotes and comments regarding the immigration discussion in last night’s Republican debate.

SEN. MCCAIN: Now, I want to say again, we — this is a national security issue. We have to secure our borders. But I want to say again, these are God’s children. We have to address it in as humane and compassionate an issue as possible. But we have to respect our nation’s security requirements.”

One of the most used arguments on this issue is that “we are a nation of laws,” but I’d like someone to explain that to everybody in the US because many only follow the most convenient ones. This is especially true with traffic laws (which are the most commonly broken and unpunished offenses), but does happen in many other areas as well. (i.e. spitting on the sidewalk – of course there are more serious ones as well – sometimes committed by those in government.)

MR. ROMNEY: I disagree fundamentally with the idea that the 12 million people who’ve come here illegally should all be allowed to remain in the United States permanently, potentially some of them applying for citizenship and becoming citizens, others just staying permanently. I think that is a form of amnesty and that is not appropriate. We’re a nation of laws. Our liberty –

— our liberty — our liberty is based upon being a nation of laws. I would welcome those people to get in line with everybody else who wants to come here permanently. But there should be no special pathway to permanent residency or citizenship for those that have come here illegally.

Which laws were we following when we decided to attack Iraq?

In a question to Giuliani, Spradling simply furthers the use of “illegal” as a noun referring to undocumented immigrants. This is a method for dehumanizing these migrants.

MR. SPRADLING: Mayor Giuliani, a point of specificity here. Do you believe that the illegals that have been identified in the U.S. need to leave the United States and reapply for citizenship to come back into the country? And if so, for how long?

Giuliani responds by advocating the border fence. I say we build large 100 foot fences on every border in this country including our homes. This way we’ll never have to worry about any security issues. We’ll even have the ability to maintain tighter security in our own homes since those entering without permission are essentially entering our homes as stated by many anti-immigrant groups. I want to see nothing but fences everywhere. The U.S. will look like one big office space.

MR. GIULIANI: What I believe should happen is we should stop illegal immigration at the border, and we should begin doing it now. We should erect a fence. We should erect a technological fence. We should expand the border patrol…..

If they don’t come forward, then you throw them out of the country.

The ones who do come forward would have to pay taxes.

Do the candidates not realize that these immigrants already pay taxes?

Giuliani then says:

They’d be at the back of the line. But then they could eventually become citizens so long as they could read English, write English and speak English.

I say just writing English should be enough. This way if they’re deaf then they can still become citizens. However, the blind can simply learn to speak English.

MR. THOMPSON: — and stop inducing people to come here with employment and protection under sanctuary cities, as Mayor Giuliani did when he was mayor of New York, then we would have — we would have attrition of these numbers and start reversing them.

MR. GIULIANI: I have to answer that — I have to answer that question. New York City was not a sanctuary city. New York City turned in the names of every single person who committed a crime or who was suspected of a crime.

MR. THOMPSON: What about just being illegal?

MR. GIULIANI: Well, New York City turned in the names of all people that were illegal with only three exceptions. One exception was for children that were going to school. We had 70,000 children of illegals. I was not going to leave them on the street. I am proud that I continued that policy. It would have been inhumane to do anything else.

Second, we said if you come into a hospital and you need treatment for an emergency, you’ll be treated. It would have been inhumane to do anything else.

How do you turn somebody in for simply being here without permission?

MR. HUCKABEE: I think we ought to have a period of time in which people then return to their home country and get in the back of the line. Now, the reason I’ve come to that conclusion is for a variety of focus, but here’s part of it. When people live in the United States, they ought to have their head up. They ought not to live in fear. Every time they see a police car, they shouldn’t run and hide. Nobody ought to live like that in this country. And the only way we’re going to fix that is that people do it right. And in order to do it right, they’re going to have to go back and get in the back of the line. It’s not an inhumane way. I think it’s the only way that makes sense.

People live in fear because it is our policy to make them. They also live in fear from all the hatred spread by U.S. citizens that refuse to acknowledge that we’re talking about hard working people contributing, within our country, to our economy and our ability to maintain control of products and services within our own border.

MR. ROMNEY: And I think every person on this stage wants the community to understand that legal immigration, we value. It’s great for the country. We welcome legal immigration — every single one of us. No difference on that. We get twisted on this outside.

It’s one thing to say you’re for legal immigration and another to offer reasonable access to it. For those that have gmail you may remember when it was invitation only. That is somewhat how are immigration system is now. Now gmail is available to anyone and encourages people to get an account. Maybe it’s a silly analogy, but it sounds good to me. With our immigration system if you know someone then you have a better chance at getting in – otherwise you’re going to have to wait. We want families to be together, but others, without family members here, should be able to come in as well. And of course nobody talks about guest worker programs – though they should be.

For these candidates and anti-“illegal” immigration groups to have to continually state they’re for legal immigration just goes to show how the rhetoric allows for negative interpretation. This is because people understand that legal entry into the United States is not as easy as you’d think it would be for a “nation of immigrants.” The system needs to be fixed in fairness to all, but there are issues outside of immigration that cause people to leave their countries to work in the U.S. That’s what we need to address.

Ron Paul stated we can’t view this in a vacuum, but I believe that’s what we’re doing when we don’t speak of the causes. When all these politicians talk about are ways to keep people out we’ve not truly addressed the problem. Listening to most of those against these migrants you’d think they’re just here for handouts and to spite the American public. That’s absolutely not true and we need someone to start talking about the reasons this is happening rather than simply finding the best way to put the lid on the jar.


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