The immigration planLast week I pointed out that illegal immigration was the primary issue that was killing the campaigns of candidates who would otherwise have easily garnered the support of the pro-family right. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback's campaign was brought down not because of his social conservatism, but because of his support of amnesty for illegal aliens. Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee supports amnesty and his otherwise conservative campaign has failed to pick up steam among the very voters that he is trying to court. The immigration restrictionist vote is divided, but is strong enough to cripple or even bring down the campaigns of certain candidates.
As if on cue, Fred Thompson unveiled an immigration plan yesterday in Florida that, were it enacted, would please many activists on the illegal immigration front. Thompson proposes enforcing immigration law through attrition, which is a viable alternative to the "all or nothing" philosophy of those who say that we either must have amnesty for illegals or no immigration at all. The key, as the Thompson team says, is to enforce the law:
Reduce the number of illegal aliens through increased enforcement against unauthorized alien workers and their employers. Without illegal employment opportunities available, fewer illegal aliens will attempt to enter the country, and many of those illegally in the country now likely will return home. Self-deportation can also be maximized by stepping up the enforcement levels of other existing immigration laws.
The uncomfortable yet realistic hyphenation "self-deportation" is used here because that should be the ultimate goal. Pro-amnesty advocates are quite right when they say that it is impossible to find and to deport 12 million people at once, but that is hardly an excuse to do nothing. Therefore, life for someone who has come to this country in violation of the law should be made at the very least a massive hassle, and at the most a highly dangerous proposition-so much so that the best option for those who come here illegally will be for them not to remain among us unless they do so in accordance with the law.
The raw political implications of the Thompson plan should also not be underestimated. Fred Thompson is doubtless acutely aware that illegal immigration has become a core issue to millions of Americans, but it has become the primary issue of concern for the part of the country likely to compose Fred Thompson's electoral base: The South. If Fred Thompson does not do very well in the South, he absolutely will not win the Republican nomination. He has a quality team of people behind him who are not only aware of that reality, but they have surely studied the statistics which say that the votes on the immigration issue among Republicans are heavily divided, and that voters who view this as a key issue are still looking for a consensus candidate.
If Fred Thompson is prepared to make illegal immigration a key issue in his campaign and is willing to run on his plan, he could walk away with the GOP nomination. He needs to be careful however, because if by chance he is elected and does not carry out the plan he spelled out yesterday, the backlash against both him and the GOP from their own Right could reverberate for many years to come.
No guest worker plans.
No welfare benefits
No free entry
No citizenship unless you come here legally
No tolerance for breaking our law
No backing down
That is what the American people expect, and we had better be ready to deliver.
Labels: Presidential Election