The separate issues of border security and immigration have become entwined as the American economy continues to wane, an illicit drug trade continues to flourish and a vast number of Americans remain unemployed as illegal immigrants take jobs on American soil. This leads to the immigration and border security issues becoming increasingly important and controversial.
With President Barack Obama’s decision to shore up his Hispanic political base by handing out free candy on the immigration issue, it is vital that we get to know which GOP candidate would do the best job of redressing the damage he has done. Thus, I will endeavor to examine the immigration stances of Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry and Mitt Romney. I examined Michele Bachmann’s take on this issue in Part 1, earlier today. Now I discuss Mitt Romney.
Mitt Romney currently leads most polls for the GOP nomination. He has held that position for a long time. He has emerged from two debates where he was the number one target essentially unscathed. But where does Mitt Romney stand on issues related to immigration and border security? I begin with his stated views on the subject.
Mitt Romney does not have a lot of recent recorded talking points on immigration. However, he addressed the issue extensively as a POTUS Candidate in 2007. In an effort to define his current stance on immigration issues, Candidate Romney spoke in Manchester, NH during his previous, unsuccessful run for the GOP nomination. Romney makes three points in the sound-bite below.
“I very firmly believe that we have to make sure that we enforce our borders, that we have an employment verification system, and that those people who have come here illegally do not get an advantage to become permanent residents, they do not get a special pathway.”
Candidate Romney seems to want more legal immigration into America. He said the following regarding H1B Visas.
“I like H1B visas. I like the idea of the best and brightest in the world coming here. I'd rather have them come here permanently rather than come and go, but I believe our visa program is designed to help us solve gaps in our employment pool.
He further speaks out on being in favor increasing the overall numbers of immigrants in America.
“I'm not looking to reduce the number of immigrants that come to our country or reduce the number of immigrants who are in our country.”
On the physical aspects of securing the borders, Gov. Romney has opined in favor of the construction of physical and technological barriers to entry along territorial, land borders.
“Governor Romney will follow through on the Congressional commitment to build a physical and technological fence along the southern border, and secure other points of entry throughout the country.”
In an interview with Human Events, Mitt Romney stated the following regarding employers who hire illegal immigrants.
You would then say to an employer, “when you hire someone or want to hire someone, check their social security number; if it’s valid, you can hire them. If they don’t have a social security number and they’re an alien, ask for the card. If they don’t have one, you can’t hire them. If they do have one, you’ve got to check the number on the Internet. If it’s valid, you can hire them. If it’s not valid, you can’t. And in cases where you break these rules, you will be sanctioned just like for not paying your taxes.”
Mitt Romney, in my humble opinion has said most of the right things on this issue. However, like with Michele Bachmann in the segment before, I find aspects of his policies imperfect and incomplete. I question whether the United States can afford to bring in as many legal immigrants as he seems to favor inducting. The economy suffers from a 9% + unemployment rate without them. It may well require an economic growth spurt of Reaganesque proportions to produce enough gainful employment to pit all of these new Americans and foreign visa-holders to work.
I also noted that a lot of his positions and proposals date back to his prior run for office. Going to the 2011 Romney For President Website will get you this on immigration: “…..”. Candidate Romney seems to strongly believe that his number one duty will be to undo the damage that the Obama Presidency has inflicted upon America’s economy. This may lead him to put immigration and border security issues too low on his list of priorities to ever effectively implement some his more positive ideas on the topic.
I close by arguing that on balance, Mitt Romney is a good, but not perfect, candidate on immigration. His prior run for office has given him time to examine the issue in detail and offer a thorough and professional set of political ideas on immigration and border security. My primary doubts involve his desire to get these things done. However, even if President Romney did NOTHING to fix the current situation; he would be a vast improvement on the Jet-Fuel Genius we have in office right now.