Getting tough on immigrants | Arkansas Blog

Friday, December 7, 2007

Getting tough on immigrants

Posted By on Fri, Dec 7, 2007 at 9:21 AM

Funny thing. In recent days, both Sen. Mark Pryor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (his nine-point plan on the jump) have plans to crack down on unauthorized immigrants. Though Pryor doesn't yet have a Republican opponent in 2008, some rumors have linked Rogers Mayor Steve Womack with a potential Republican race. You couldn't get to the right of Womack on immigration (nor, we hope, would even Mark Pryor want to). But no harm in looking tough. 

Huckabee has a more pressing need to polish his immigration record. As Ernie Dumas noted in detail this week, Huckabee has been admirably tolerant on the immigrant question. Tolerance, however, is not considered a virtue in Republican primaries, particularly in places such as Iowa, where evangelicals predominate in the tiny (4 percent of Iowa residents) caucus participant pool. UPDATE: Here, Kos rips Huck.

On the Pryor-Huckabee topic: Huckabee's strong performance as a presidential candidate (now second in many polls) is good for Pryor. Republican moneybags badly want Huckabee to oppose Pryor and shore up what is shaping up as a weak Republican effort for congressional seats across the country. With the filing deadline in March and Huckabee likely very much alive as a presidential candidate at that time, he wouldn't be able to commit then to a race for Senate. (He's said he's not interested, but he will need work if he doesn't make the presidential ticket.)

UPDATE: I'm now told that Womack rumor is old news. He was courted and declined. Not going to happen. Here's a theory, too. Is it smart presidential politics for the Republican Party to move mountains and raise tons of money to come up with sacrificial candidates for races against Pryor, Berry, Ross, etc.? Would this not only put the Democratic GOTV campaign in high gear in pursuit of voter blocs that tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic? Not helpful to a Republican presidential candidate. Whoever it is would have a presumptive good shot at carrying Arkansas.

MIKE HUCKABEE NEWS RELEASE

Former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee is releasing "The Secure America Plan: A Nine-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security," it was announced today.
Huckabee said he believes in adopting the best policy ideas to provide a "tough, equitable and comprehensive approach" to dealing with the current immigration crisis.
The text of the plan is provided below:
The Secure America Plan: A Nine-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security
Overview: Implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population.
1.      Build the Fence


·         Ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along the border by July 1, 2010.
·         Ensure that the border fence construction is completed by July 1, 2010.
2.      Increase Border Patrol


·         Increase the number of border patrol agents.
·         Fully support all law enforcement personnel tasked with enforcing immigration law.
3.      Prevent Amnesty


·         Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.
·         Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the 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.
4.      Enforce the Law on Employers
·         Employment is the chief draw for most illegal immigrants and denying them jobs is the centerpiece of an attrition strategy.
·         Impose steep fines and penalties on employers that violate the law.
·         Institute a universal, mandatory citizenship verification system as part of the normal hiring process.
·         Prevent the IRS and the Social Security Administration from accepting fraudulent Social Security numbers or numbers that don't match the employees' names.*
      5.  Establish an Economic Border


·         Move toward passage of the FairTax.
·         The FairTax provides an extra layer of security by creating an economic disincentive to immigrate to the U.S. illegally.


      6.  Empower Local Authorities
·         Promote better cooperation on enforcement by supporting legislative measures such as the CLEAR Act, which aims to systematize the relationship between local law and federal immigration officials.
·         Encourage immigration-law training for police. Local authorities must be provided the tools, training, and funding they need so local police can turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities.
7. Ensure Document Security
·         End exemptions for Mexicans and Canadians to the US-VISIT program, which tracks the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Since these countries account for the vast majority of foreigners coming here (85 percent), such a policy clearly violates Congress' intent in mandating this check-in/check-out system.
·         Reject Mexico's "matricula consular" card, which functions as an illegal-immigrant identification card.


8. Discourage Dual Citizenship
·         Inform foreign governments when their former citizens become naturalized U.S. citizens.
·         Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).
9. Modernize the Process of Legal Immigration
·         Eliminate the visa lottery system and the admission category for adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
·         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.  Governor Huckabee has always been grateful to live in a country that people are trying to break into, rather than break out of.
*This policy will be drafted to comply with the final federal court decisions on this issue.

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