Last night’s GOP presidential debate, hosted by Fox News, was illuminating as far as the subject of illegal immigration is concerned, although the negative consequences of excessive legal immigration went unaddressed entirely. As Numbers USA pointed out during the course of its live-tweet of the debate, the segment devoted to immigration left out the question of green cards. Thankfully, the liabilities of a Rick Perry nomination were thoroughly exposed, as illustrated by the brief section dealing with his continued support for the DREAM Act.
And while Philip Klein has asserted that Mitt Romney is not a credible critic of Perry because of his own mixed record on illegal aliens within the state of Massachusetts, I respectfully disagree. While Romney has made some deeply troubling statements about matters like H1-B Visas in the past, I don’t think that means he can be placed in the same category as GWB, or his successor in the Texas Governor’s Mansion, Rick Perry. Keep in mind, Governor Perry’s instinctual reaction to those who would oppose subsidizing illegal aliens-to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars for each semester they attend college-was to demonize them as callous individuals! Regardless of whether you oppose or support the DREAM Act-and as Mickey Kaus has demonstrated repeatedly, there are many valid points of contention-the feral, illogical reaction of Perry is something that is poles apart from Mitt Romney’s studied position.
Unfortunately, the knee jerk attack on people who oppose the DREAM Act was echoed by many ostensibly conservative pundits who were following last night’s debate, which demonstrates once again that the issue of immigration can not be neatly divided by race, class, or party. One thing that should be kept in mind for future debates is the tone Republican candidates set on this subject. As a party, the GOP needs to abandon the Bush-era reflex of impugning the motivations of people who are not open borders enthusiasts. Unfortunately, the more traction Governor Perry receives, the more likely that attitude is to resurface. It’s something we should all be weary of.