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October 23, 2007

Teh Fred Announces Immigration Plan, Focusing On (Gasp!) Attrition Through Enforcement

Rudy fired on him today on this issue, hoping, I guess, to arrest a groundswell for Thompson. I'll get to that in a minute.

First, Teh Fred's plan:

Fred Thompson met with the sheriff of Collier County Florida today and rolled out a new anti-illegal immigration policy initiative that focuses on seven main policy points: 1) No amnesty; 2) Attrition through enforcement; 3) Increased enforcement of current laws; 4) Reduced incentives from jobs; 5) Bolster border security; 6) Increased prosecution; and 7) Rigorous entry and exit regulation.
Collier County is the only county in Southwest Florida to have its deputies trained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement to allow them to serve as local immigration and deportation agents. After a quick briefing on the county’s program, which Thompson said should serve as a “model” for counties across the country, the former senator focused on how best to enforce current immigration laws.
At the center of Thompson’s immigration proposal is a crackdown on sanctuary cities, about which he said, “Some of our cities in this country, for their own individual reasons and notions, have basically said to their locals, ‘You can’t cooperate with federal authorities. If you run across illegal aliens, you cannot cooperate with [the federal government], you cannot reveal them to federal authorities.’ That’s wrong.
“I propose that we cut off some discretionary funding to those cities. If you’re going to do that, you’re not going to do it with federal money. As far as colleges and universities are concerned, part of the law is that you may not induce people to come in illegally and become part of the university by giving them in-state tuition treatment, unless you give it to everybody else, which of course nobody does. But they continue to do so. There are discretionary funds there that need to be cut off from colleges and universities that insist on violating the law.”

Um... perfect.

Now Rudy fires on Thompson, questioning some votes he cast as a Senator. Jim Geraghty finds these attacks ticky-tack at best. And he also notes that Thompson was in the overwhelming Republican majority on most of those votes. It's a fact the part has changed its opinion -- or rather grown comfortable about expressing the true opinion it's had all along -- and so it matters less what a politician did or said in the nineties than what he says and does now.

And I'm sorry, as much a fan as I am on Rudy Giuliani, he still doesn't get it, and is still contriving to keep his old pro-illegal policies with a bit of spin. He wants a fence, sure -- "a highly technological fence," that is, meaning, "not a fence at all, just some camera towers and drones." He says he wants to issue a national employee ID to make sure all immigrants in America are working here legally, apparently thinking we're dumb enough to not see the flaw in this plan: illegal immigrants do not forge documents in order to pose as legal immigrants most of the time, but rather to pose as American citizens, who will not be required to carry the employee ID card. So, um, how would that cut down on illegal workers?

Sorry, buddy. No sale. You are continuing to lose a nomination that was yours for the taking due to your stubborness.

This is a huge issue, obviously. New York Dems are scared witless that Elliot Spitzer's plan to give drivers' licenses to illegals will cost them the state, and the GOP has renewed hope that this issue will help them in 2008:

When Republican Jim Ogonowski launched his long-shot bid for Congress, he prepared for an upbeat campaign in his Democratic, working-class district of Massachusetts, based on a winning r¿sum¿: affable hay farmer, former Air Force lieutenant colonel, and brother of an American Airlines pilot whose hijacked plane slammed into the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

But by last month, although opinion polling showed that he was well liked, he was still running 10 points behind Democrat Niki Tsongas with just weeks to go before a special election. The campaign needed a way to go beyond biography, to persuade Northern Massachusetts to vote Republican. They found it in illegal immigration.

On Tuesday, Ogonowski still fell short, but Tsongas's 51 to 45 percent victory was a shocker in a district where both John F. Kerry and Al Gore took 57 percent of the vote, and where liberal Democratic Rep. Martin T. Meehan served comfortably for eight terms. The underwhelming victory of the wife of deceased former senator Paul Tsongas has rekindled Democratic concerns about an immigration issue they had hoped had been put to rest.

"This issue has real implications for the country. It captures all the American people's anger and frustration not only with immigration, but with the economy," said Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and an architect of the Democratic congressional victories of 2006. "It's self-evident. This is a big problem."

Republicans, sensing a major vulnerability, have been hammering Democrats, forcing Congress to face the question of illegal immigration on every bill they can find, from agriculture spending and housing assistance to the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).


"I think the Democrats are on the wrong side of this issue, and if they continue down this path, they are going to lose a lot of seats," said Matt Wylie, a strategist for the Ogonowski campaign.


"Immigration played into the economic issue," said Francis Talty, a political science professor at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell who followed the Tsongas-Ogonowski contest. "Do you want illegal immigrants to get in-state [university] tuition? Do you want them to get driver's licenses? Do you want their children to get benefits under SCHIP? It was the benefit side that has real resonance, not the deportation thing."

A new national poll for National Public Radio, conducted by the Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, and the Republican firm Public Opinion Strategies, found that voters are more likely to side with Democrats than Republicans on war, taxes and spending, the economy, health care and health insurance for children, often by wide margins. On immigration, the Republicans hold a 49 to 44 percent lead.

As much as there is to like and admire about Giuliani, the man either has to get right on the issues or get out of the race. Not only is his immigration waffling bad policy, it's bad politics, giving the Democrats a pass on the one hot-button issue they're truly vulnerable on at the moment.

(A Romney internal poll has Fred leading Rudy in SC (actually Rudy's in third according to the poll), for what's it's worth.)

More: Fred's thoughts on the "achievable" solution of attrition through enforcement at the Washington Times.

Bad Spin From Thompson: Or at least spin I don't approve of. He too seems to be sticking to past votes that should be repudiated.

From the first-linked article:

Thompson campaign spokesman Jeff Sadosky noted that the bill in question only had support from two Republicans in the Senate because many saw it as a stepping-stone to a national ID law. “[Giuliani] is basically criticizing us for being Republican,” Sadosky said, “once again aligning himself with Senate Democrats.”

I realize this raises all sorts of red flags with privacy-minded conservatives, but you can't have genuine enforcement of immigration/work rules without a hard-to-forge national ID. Our country continues to be a soft target for both illegal workers and terrorists because it's easy as hell to forge many state IDs (or forge the documents necessary to get yourself a real, though fraudulently obtained, state ID).

I don't get this resistance. You have to show state-issued ID for many purposes already -- including employment, where you have to present a passport of SS card. So I don't understand why conservatives are just fine with being required to show easily forged IDs but balk at being asked to show difficult to forge IDs.

Do some of us anticipate having to go "off the grid" like John Connor in the very near future? Whom does the current system benefit apart from criminals, terrorists, and illegal aliens?

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posted by Ace at 03:13 PM

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