GOP Hopefuls Debate; Immigration Key Topic

Published on September 23rd, 2011

Take it from me who has been in the patriotic immigration reform fight since the first salvo was fired, our cause has finally moved into the political limelight.

Twenty-five years ago, when I made my original donation to CAPS and very shortly thereafter when I became its Media Director, I could hardly find anyone outside of our office to acknowledge that immigration had the potential to overwhelm California.

In the late 1980s, waves of legal and illegal immigrants, including many Southeast Asian refugees, were filling up schools and hospital while tapping into costly social service programs. During the ensuing decades, immigration increased despite efforts by CAPS and other groups to warn the public about its devastating consequences.

But based on last night’s Republican presidential debate, helped by an important NumbersUSA.com ad that emphasized the relationship between “the numbers” of legal immigrants and American job loss that harms people of all races and nationalities, the debate is poised to intensify in the months leading up to November 2012. (Watch the ad here)

In an interview with The Hill Roy Beck, NumbersUSA.com’s Executive Director and founder explained the ad’s philosophy: "By having lots of nationalities in there, we're trying to take ethnicity off the table. We chose our name because we knew that too many people on both sides of the issue got sidetracked on who immigrants are." Beck added that the commercial’s goal is to encourage GOP candidates to focus more on jobs than they have in previous debates. [Ad Targeting Legal Immigration to Air During Debate, by Josh Lederman, The Hill, September 22, 2011]

About the debate itself, two omissions disappointed me. First, moderators again failed to ask direct questions about the wisdom of issuing 125,000 green cards (with work permits) every month to new legal immigrants despite a relentlessly high unemployment rate that has hovered around 9 percent for months.

Second, given the recent House Judiciary Committee vote to pass Chairman Lamar Smith’s Legal Workforce Act which would mandate E-Verify for all employers, each of the candidates should have been asked their opinion on the bill. Instead, the question was only posed to Newt Gingrich, one of the longest shots for the nomination on the stage.

Summarizing the debate Michele Bachmann, another long shot but one with a fighting chance, solidified her position as force against illegal immigration and the maddening DREAM Act that despite multiple Congressional defeats for ten consecutive years somehow cannot be killed off for good.

Mitt Romney also maintained his strong anti-illegal immigration position and mentioned, at least in passing, that E-Verify might be an effective means of assuring that only legally authorized workers get jobs.

As for the curious Rick Perry, I give him credit for sticking to his guns about the DREAM Act even though his continued support for it dooms him to defeat. As it did in the previous debates, the audience vigorously booed Perry when he began to pontificate. Maybe he sincerely believes his own baloney that Americans who don’t support the DREAM Act “have no heart.”

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