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Newt’s immigration policy crazy like a conservative fox

Newt’s immigration policy crazy like a conservative fox

Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann (as well as many Mitt supporters in the media) have been distorting Newt Gingrich’s position on immigration as one favoring “amnesty.”

Via The Shark Tank, here is a video where Newt explains his immigration policy.  I believe it’s a fully acceptable and conservative immigration policy:  Secure the borders first and impose strict employer penalties, and once all that is done create a deportation policy with some humanitarian exceptions based on preserving family units, but no preferential pathway to citizenship (except for those who serve in the U.S. military).

It is a formulation liberals ultimately hate because it is hard for them to demagogue (i.e., it is “humane”) without creating new Democratic voters.

I think the concept of “community boards” still needs clarification, and there would need to be a national standard.  But in no way is it an “amnesty” policy.  Romney and Bachmann have damaged their own creditility by claiming Newt wants “amnesty” for 11 million people.  (Bachmann has been particularly misleading.)

I am more convinced than ever that Newt, whether consciously or not, set a trap for Romney on immigration.  In addition to the points I made the other day (forcing Romney into a run to the right lacking credibility aand from which he had no exit), Newt damaged Romney’s claim to being the most electable.

Romney’s “deport them all with no exceptions” policy makes him less electable because it is out of sync even with the Republican electorate and is impossible tf implement.  Romney eventually will, of necessity, be forced to admit that Newt is right that there must be deportation exceptions.

None other than Bill Clinton recognized that Gingrich’s approach was politcally savvy because while it was more conservative than what George W. Bush proposed, it would have broad appeal:

“He’s articulate and he tries to think of a conservative version of an idea that will solve a legitimate problem,” Clinton said, by way of explaining the Gingrich resurgence. “For example, I watched the national security debate last night. And Newt said two things that would make an independent voter say, ‘Well, I gotta consider that.’

“He said, ‘OK, I don’t want to legitimize immigrants who came here undocumented, illegally.’ On the other hand, a lot of those people have been here for years, they worked hard, they paid taxes, they’ve got kids in the schools, they’re not criminals, we’re going to have a hard time sending them all home, there’s millions of them. So, I’d like to have a process where they could be here legally but not have a path to citizenship. That sort of splits the difference between the immigration reforms proposed by President Bush and President Obama, which would give a path to citizenship, and would be a version of what President Reagan did.”

While some are terming Clinton’s praise, along with that of Chuck Schumer, as the “kiss of death,” I think it’s more a recognition that while they will rip at Newt on other things, it’s going to be hard to attack him on immigration even though they don’t ultimately like the policy.

A blogger at HuffPo also has recognized what Newt has done, Newt Gingrich’s Immigration Gambit:  Is He Crazy Like a Fox?

Was Newt Gingrich crazy to suggest that the United States needed a more “humane” immigration policy?  Crazy like a fox, perhaps.  Gingrich’s gambit wasn’t a Rick Perry-style stumble or gaffe: it was a cleverly calculated maneuver.  Already dominating Mitt Romney among Tea Party conservatives, he decided that a highly visible move to the center on an issue that is not likely to decide the 2012 election could score him points with GOP voters who wonder if he’s as “electable” as Romney.

Many Tea party conservatives, Newt reasons, know that he’s more conservative than Romney, and won’t let the immigration issue alone sway their votes.  After all, he’s already thrown them plenty of “red meat” on Obamacare, Iran, and other bellwether issues.  At the same time, by suggesting that he’s able to reach out to Latino voters in the general election, and has an actual immigration plan to compete with Obama’s, he could well win over many moderates who are otherwise still stuck on Mitt.

I disagree that this was a “gambit,” because it was not a recent change in position.

But it was crazy like a fox, a conservative fox.


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I think one of the hidden benefits of Gingrich’s position on immigration is that it helped to mitigate the inevitable onslaught of Journolist criticism as he became the new not-Romney of the week.

He may be able to maintain his status as the leading not-Romney if he can convince conservatives that his policy will be fair to law-abiding citizens and immigrants.

As long as there is an actual separation between the two stages.

Those of us who are strongly in favor of enforcement want border security (more patrols, use of of Natl.Guard, Fences and electronic surveillance) have always said that those here need to be dealt with fairly and humanely but first SECURE THE BORDERS.

Trouble is most proposals present a simultaneous solution and we all know where that will lead; the border security lags while the fair and humane sorting out gets priority and meanwhile 2 million illegals cross the still unsecure border. Tempted by the prospect of citizenship/amnesty.

No Border security AND humane sorting out of those already here.

Border Security NOW and First. Once the flood is a trickle THEN deal with those already here. No telegraphing the kind gesture.

Of course the liberals will never agree to that because this isn’t about a labor force for them it’s about a political voting block.

It says it all that from a joke a few years ago, the tide flooding across our borders has become a political block. So far a stumbling one but soon it will become what Teddy envisioned; a renewable Democrat reelection scheme.

I think that Gingrich’s position is reasonable,as well. I also agree strongly with jakee308 that we must secure our borders first.

It seems to me that the situation is one in which two very fundamental principles conflict. One principle is that people who have come here illegally should not be treated better than people who have come here legally. The other is the principle, firmly established in the common law system, that failure to enforce one’s rights can, in some circumstances, mean loss of those rights. Specifically, we in the United States didn’t try very hard to enforce our immigration laws for more than two decades.

In a situation in which two fundamental principles conflict, any solution is going to violate at least one of those principles. In short, we’re going to have to compromise our principles.

I don’t expect everybody to agree with my position, though.

I can see Newt’s position as feasible. Never give them full citizenship rights except through proper channels.

Never allow them to vote, and tell them if caught attempting to vote while on illegal status, they would be immediately deported. No exceptions.

    jakee308 in reply to Chuck912. | November 29, 2011 at 2:04 am

    How can we prevent them from voting?

    Voter I.D. laws are in the minority. And for good reason as the Democrat party has been fighting them tooth and nail for years. Citing “no evidence of voter fraud”. Of course if one doesn’t LOOK for voter fraud one won’t find it.

    Also without a citizenship component most illegals will just continue their criminal usage of phony I.D.’s and birth certificates.

    And by the way; how to sort out that mess?
    On the one hand you have a model citizen; works hard, pays taxes and isn’t involved in any criminal activity.

    Oh wait. They’re criminals from the moment they walked across the border AND most that stay for any length have used/possess false documents (a state and Federal crime) to allow them to work, vote and drive.

    Are all these criminals to be let go? Their crimes just a minor inconvenience?

    When the law is broken on a regular basis (for whatever reason) by the citizenry, then respect for the law and the law abiding diminishes further. When those who commit crimes are not punished and even rewarded, respect for the law diminishes.

    The United States beside being an experiment in representational government is also an experiment in the equal application of the law. Rich or poor, everyone is obligated to obey and will be compelled to obey. It’s why there is so, relatively, little petty corruption by governmental bureaucrats compared to other countries.

    The influx of illegals and the failure to address it has undermined respect for the law in this country and turned the US into the kind of country the illegals are fleeing from.



I am not in Newt’s camp yet. I do like his proposal but I prefer a little more ‘hardline’ to begin with. I do not want any illegals thinking there is any chance of citizenship or ‘amnesty’ later on. More will self deport (the cheapest choice) and it is hard to back down from.

If Newt is nominated. I’ll give him a chance, the Prof’s done that much at least.

I don’t get Bachmann’s attempts to demonize Newt re his statement during the debate – I clearly heard what he said, first, second and third time – Bachmann obviously did not as she kept harping about amnesty for 11 million – not at all what Newt said.

However, I must say I like his ideas re some amnesty – it, at least shows compasion for those deserving – right after the fence/wall is completed. . . .

CenterRightMargin | November 28, 2011 at 10:52 am

I actually really like Newt’s proposal, and especially the local aspect of it. While I agree that you need national standards, if you are going to create a broad possibility of an exception – you get to stay notwithstanding that you got here unfairly and contrary to the law – it makes sense to have, essentially, a jury of your peers evaluate that, with the presumption being guilt.

I think you’d need to have automatic disqualifiers: a felony conviction or misdemeanor involving violence; repeated drunk driving; etc. And maybe these things wouldn’t be of unlimited duration, but be for terms. But a “local abeyance” process, tied to remaining in whatever community that you are in (and if you skip out of the community, then you get an auto-disqualify), is just sort of a an American approach. Get things down to the local level, as much as possible.

Professor, I know you are a huge proponent for Newt Gingrich (as evidenced numerous postings only reflecting positive commentary about him).

But seriously, what Newt proposes is amnesty in the same sense the 1987 Reagan plan was amnesty. Oh sure, Newt can wrap some word salad around his phraseology to make is sound like it is not amnesty but, in practical terms, it is amnesty.

Michele is right to raise the issue of magnets. The message in Newt’s policy: enter the country illegally, keep your head down, and you too can avoid entering the country through the front door instead of “breaking and entering.”

Realistically, once Newt would open this avenue, how long before La Raza and the ACLU start chipping away at that arbitrary 25-year floor. Why not someone with 24 years, 11 months? Why not someone with 11 years, 2 months? This is the slippery slope.

Amnesty didn’t work out so well under the 1987 Reagan Plan. The trickle of illegals has become a flood.

As for Bill Clinton praise, really? Is Bill Clinton the oracle now that he has said flattering things about Newt’s ability to triangilate? As with anything coming from Bill Clinton it depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.

The community board concept is unrealistic, even at a national level. So, under Obama we have the IPAB under ObamaCare to determine who gets live or death treatment while under Newt we would get the star chamber who determines who stays or goes. That’s the problem with Newt’s proposals: big government and unaccountable bureaucrats.

I am convinced Newt has set a trap for himself. I say flush both Newt and Mitt.

This is not amnesty at all. It is, effectively, a guest worker program. It’s exactly what we need to correct a gaping hole in our immigration laws, which currently fail to take people who just want to come here to work into account.

Our Congress gave us a guest worker program in the past, and it worked. The absence of that program has created a huge mess, and it operates against the best interests of both our country and those who would work temporarily for us. The Democrats did not want such a program because the unions are against it. Fixing the Democrats’ mistake in the crafting of our laws is not the same thing as granting amnesty, and of course, citizenship is a separate issue.

We can provide by law, for example, that a person who chooses to enter this country illegally has made an election NOT to pursue citizenship.


Gingrich’s immigration policy is absolute garbage. Its amnesty hiding under a euphemism. Worse, the notion that every community in the country would individually determine which illegal aliens would get to stay and which wouldn’t is ludicrous.

The only points in your entire post that I agree with are 1) that Gingrich’s weak position on immigration will probably help him in the general election and 2) that Romney hurt himself worse by pretending to be tough on immigration when in fact he’s on record as being firmly in favor of amnesty.

For the record, NO ONE advocates a “deport them all with no exceptions” policy. The notion is a leftist red herring – a straw man, if you will. Its only ever mentioned one sentence before denouncing the impracticality of it. The strong position on immigration is called “attrition through enforcement”. You aggressively enforce all the laws already on the books and, though physical deportations do go up, the goal is to get illegals to deport themselves. Even under Eisenhower’s “operation wetback”, more than 10x as many illegals deported themselves as were physically deported by our government.

The sad truth is, NONE of the R candidates are strong on immigration. It is not a good issue to be using as a litmus test. Since they range from weak to terrible on the issue, what is important is how they compare to each other rather than how they compare to the ideal. If we examine any one of them in isolation we will certainly disqualify them over their squishiness on immigration.

Is Newt bad on this issue? Yes. Is Romney worse? Definitely!

What is this? Bill Clinton endorsing Newt Gringrich? Do the dims think this is maybe the kiss of death? Who knows. What is interesting is that he came out and agreed with Newt free gratis. I wonder if this is the opening salvo for a Hillary dim nomination. Then again the Clintons have been making noises about three terms for president lately. BTW, has anyone heard anything about Chelsea Clinton running for the next senate election in NY? I fully expect them to run her sometime in the future. These grifters will never willingly give up the seat of power. Holding it even through their daughter. Be very concerned if she runs for any political office.

IMHO, if we would enforce the laws we have on the books now, the illegals would leave of their own accord. If there were no welfare, food stamps, unemployment benefits, medical care, education, rental homes or jobs they would not want to stay. And could not stay. I am ambilivalent about a fence at the present time. If the question came up after obama is out of office and a real American was in, I would be for it. But with a communist in power who ignores he entire rule of law, a fence could keep us in as well as keep illegals out. Don’t forget the Berlin wall. That was built by communists too. I will go even further: if a dim is in power can we be sure that he, too, is nt a communist. No, we can’t. We have all seen the route the dim prty has been taking for the last few decades. And Hillary and Bill Clinton are alynskites.

Sorry prof but anything less than enforcing all of the current laws is not acceptable.

If we are a nation of laws, what credibility do we have when we only selectively enforce those of political convenience? To do so only weakens stature at home and around the world.

Gingrich’s position is one of amnesty pure and simple.

Of course he might argue that the statute of limitations has expired for those illegals who have been here for more than “X” amount of years…