Newt Gingrich opened the door for a discussion on illegal aliens during the Heritage-American Enterprise Institute debate on Tuesday. Gingrich managed to package a great deal of information in a short time block, but clarification on his positions will be a vital factor in determining whether he maintains his position as a GOP frontrunner in the presidential selection process.
Gingrich did not propose amnesty. He stated his position carefully:
“I think you’ve got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with controlling the border…I believe ultimately you have to find some system—once you’ve put every piece in place—which includes the guest worker program. You need something like a World War II Selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here.”
That statement is basically the central thesis of the argument the former speaker made.
There’s a contradiction of sorts, however, between his position and a foundation he cited.
The Krieble Foundation does have a plan worth considering for enabling businesses to hire the workers they need. The Foundation does address border security as vital:
“Many leaders see complete border control as prerequisite to the workability of any new guest worker program, but the two must go hand in hand. Remember, 80% of Americans understand that border control is not fully possible without some form of guest worker program, so there is a chicken-and-egg problem. Before criminalizing employers and employees alike, they must be given some practical process for getting ‘legal.’”
That is a troubling statement. The chicken-and-egg analogy is purely political.
The southern border can be secured quickly. I believe if the government announced the border would be secured, there would be self-deportations by those who don’t want to stay in the country permanently. The only logical path to addressing the issue of those in the country illegally is to secure the border first.
Americans have been burned once, a fact Gingrich admitted. Noting he did vote for the Simpson-Mazzoli Act of 1986 mostly written by Democrats and signed by President Ronald Reagan, Gingrich said:
“We were going to get control of the border and we were going to get a guest worker program with employer enforcement. ..We got neither.”
The Krieble Foundation, however, did not elevate securing the border above the needs of employers.
It's useful to remember Gingrich was not Speaker of the House when the 1986 bill, officially titled the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA), was passed. Democrats controlled the House.
Nor has anyone addressed what many American workers know. While migrant labor may be necessary in agriculture, foreign workers also take jobs in the hotel, resort, food service, construction and other sectors. Those foreign workers provide businesses with a cheaper pool of labor than American workers.
According to Pew Hispanic Center research, only 3% of illegals are employed in farming. Fully 33% work in service occupations, 17% in construction trades, and the rest in production, installation, repair, transportation and moving. Even 10% of the illegals are in management, business and professions.”
That data is sobering, considering the current US unemployment rate.
Furthermore, no Republican or Democrat talks about fiscal issues related to all our open borders whether they’re geographic or manmade ports of entry. Sizable cost shifting occurs in the areas of healthcare and education. Sizable costs are incurred in criminal justice.
The Obama administration practices a deceptive policy—enabling back door amnesty through the executive office while touting deportations of criminal aliens.
At the moment none of America’s borders are secure. Yet debate moderators have often framed questions about the threat posed by terrorism. No debate has included a discussion of foreign policy with Mexico, the country who shuttles most aliens across the southern border.
Until America’s borders are permanently secured, people will come and go as they please. The US taxpayer will educate foreign nationals’ children and provide for their healthcare needs as well as tax credits and other entitlements for the children. The US taxpayer also bears the criminal justice costs for a part of this population.
A number of immigration resource organizations like the Center for Immigration Studies and the Krieble Foundation note a net debt to the taxpayer at present even when foreign workers’ payroll taxes are taken into consideration.
The Obama administration ignores the fiscal component of this discussion because Democrats are pandering their customary identity politics.
Obama has cut domestic programs like Medicare and his healthcare bill will cut those programs even more, but he has never said a single word about the impact of communities providing healthcare for foreign nationals.
Both political parties make much of the need to cut entitlements for Americans. Neither political party addresses the issue of entitlements for foreign nationals.
In addition we must ask ourselves if the deluge of foreign workers in the last decade, noted by CIS and others as a record-setting decade for immigrants and illegal aliens, has displaced minority workers domestically—the African-American unemployment rate remains above 15 percent.
Gingrich will hopefully clarify his position and expand on the Krieble Foundation’s positions as well. Ideally, the speaker’s campaign would have issued a statement to all media as soon as the debate concluded because the speaker’s statements on Tuesday will produce political ammunition for his critics and questions among his supporters.
Gingrich said during the debate he was prepared to “take heat” for his positions. The temperature began to rise as soon as he made that statement.
(Analysis by Kay B. Day/Nov. 23, 2011)