Monday, December 31, 2007

Huckabee Shows Real Guts on Immigration

I was just watching a YouTube replay of Mike Huckabee on "Meet the Press" , and am grateful that the web often makes it unnecessary to remember how to program the timed-record on the old VCR. At one point, Tim Russert set up a real "gotcha" on illegal immigration.

Russert first played a clip of Huckabee from a debate, in which Huckabee said; "We're a better country than to punish children for what their parents did." Then Russert showed a quote from Huckabee's "Secure America Plan", that gives a 120 day window for illegals to register and return back to their country of origin, otherwise be barred from re-entry for 10 years.

After quoting both statements out of context to set it up, Russert executed his seemingly perfect "gotcha".
  • Russert-"Children born here are American citizens..."
  • Huckabee-"Mmm Hmm"(agreement)
  • Russert-"..and you were saying that, don't punish those kids. A week later, you said no, no, no send the parents home. And what happens to the kids?"
Now I was certain that any politician would find some way to dodge such a question. But what did Huckabee do? Without even the slightest pause, he said; "They go with their parents. I mean I can't imagine a parent not taking th..." While this made my heart fairly sing, Russert's "gotcha" clearly wasn't having the desired effect; so he cut off Huckabee for another pass at it.
  • Russert-"But they're American citizens. Why do they have to leave the country?"
  • Huckabee-"Because they're...they're first; before they're American citizens, they're the children of their parents."
No it's important to know that they had just finished discussing (by Russert's choice) Mitt Romney's position changes and dishonesty in campaign attack adds. He was clearly trying to make Huckabee look like he had either changed his own position between the two statements or was being dishonest himself.

Russert even continued trying to make it look like Huckabee's answer resulted in punishing the child, in contradiction to his previous position statement. When he found that didn't work, he started another "gotcha" setup, about how sending home all those illegals might hurt our economy, which Huckabee quickly countered before letting the host complete his new setup.

Huckabee stood firm, his primary position being that we absolutely must secure the border. His not directly stated, but clearly suggested, idea being that if we discover negative secondary effect after securing the border; we can certainly find solutions that work. But first and foremost, we must secure the border.

Even those who, like me, think children born of illegals shouldn't be citizens have to give Mike Huckabee a lot of credit. He showed a great deal of courage in giving such an honest answer. I'm sure a lot of liberals will see Huckabee as an outright villain for daring to say the children should be expected to leave with their parents, and I'm sure he knows it.

But it still allows for those children to re-enter the country later, as citizens; thus, not punishing the children for the crime of the parents. And it still stays firm on securing the border and enforcing Huckabee's Secure America Plan.

I'm sure there will be times and issues where changing conditions or new information will result in Huckabee changing his mind. But it seems pretty clear that he's a man of integrity, and he's no flip-flopper.

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