I am old enough to remember when California was a Republican state that could be counted on for their electoral votes for the Presidential elections. In my lifetime, California has elected six Republicans Governor of California and three Democrats. The Republican Party of California, during Pete Wilson’s time as Governor, decided to go hard right with respect to illegals already residing in California, and that decision has cost the Republicans votes that I may not live to see return to the Republican party.
The debate Thursday night in Orlando had moments that reminded me of Governor Pete Wilson. It is still early and a lot of changes are going to occur between now and when the GOP nominates someone for President in 2012. Therefore I am not going to score and grade the current candidates on this debate. However, I am including in this piece what some of the candidates said last night. I put in bold the parts that play well to conservative primary GOP voters, but will cost the GOP votes in the general election from US citizens with a Mexican heritage.
As president of the United States, I would do what my job would demand of me. That’s to uphold the sovereignty of the United States of America. To do that, I would build a fence on America’s southern border on every mile, on every yard, on every foot, on every inch of the southern border. I think that’s what we have to do, not only build it, but then also have sufficient border security and enforce the laws that are on the books with the ICE agents, with our border security. And here’s the other thing I would do. I would not allow taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal aliens or for their children. That’s a madness. End the madness for illegal aliens to come into the United States of America.
Governor Romney, I want to continue a conversation that you had with Governor Perry in the last debate. In Massachusetts, you vetoed legislation to provide interstate tuition rates to the children of illegals. Governor Perry of course signed the Texas Dream Act to do exactly that. But what about Governor Perry’s argument that it’s better to get these kids an education and to get them jobs than to consign them just to being a burden on the state?
It’s an argument I just can’t follow. I’ve got be honest with you, I don’t see how it is that a state like Texas — to go to the University of Texas, if you’re an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? That’s $22,000 a year. Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn’t make sense to me. And that kind of magnet — That kind of magnet draws people into this country to get that education, to get the $100,000 break. It makes no sense. We have to have — just as Speaker Gingrich said, and as Michele Bachmann said as well, Congresswoman Bachmann, and that is we have to have a fence, we have to have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence, we have to have a system like E-Verify that employers can use to identify who is here legally and illegally. We have to crackdown on employers that hire people that are here illegally. And we have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits like a $100,000 tax credit — or, excuse me, discount for going to the University of Texas. That shouldn’t be allowed. It makes no sense at all.
Governor Perry, no one is suggesting up here that the students that are illegal in this country shouldn’t be able to go to a college and university. I think you are sort of making this leap that, unless we subsidize this, the taxpayers subsidize it, they won’t be able to go. Well, most folks who want go to the state of Texas or any other state out of state have to pay the full boat. The point is, why are we subsidizing? Not that they can’t go. They can go. They just have to borrow money, find other sources to be able to go. And why should they be given preferential treatment as an illegal in this country? That’s what we’re saying.
And, also, once you have these data banks, the data banks means that everybody is going to be in the data bank. You say, oh, no, the data bank’s there for the illegals. But everybody’s in the data bank. That’s national ID card. If you care about your personal liberty, you’ll be cautious when you feel comfortable, blame all the illegal immigrants for everything. What you need to do is attack their benefits: no free education, no free subsidies, no citizenship, no birth-right citizenship.
It is my opinion, that if the statements by these candidates are repeated throughout the contest for President by the GOP nominee, the US citizens with a Mexican heritage will not vote for the GOP candidate. Let’s address the fence issue as it will be seen by these voters. The fence, to many of them, is akin to the Berlin Wall. It is seen as a means of blocking their view of Mexico, a bad place. The Berlin Wall was built to keep the Berliners in the communist sector from escaping to the West. The East Germans justified the building of the wall to its citizens as protection to keep them from seeing all the “monsters” in the West. No one has ever explained to my satisfaction, why securing the US border with Mexico without the fence is so terribly wrong. A US President can command his Secretary of Defense to deploy the necessary aerial surveillance assets and rapid deployment troops to stop movements of smugglers in Mexico attempting to illegally bring cargoes of drugs and humans across the border into the US. This way of securing the border can be done, and our US citizens from a Mexican heritage might support it, whereas they would not accept a fence.
Next, I want to address the Texas in-state tuition status. By law, every state must provide illegal children with a public education for grades K-12. The illegals are paying the same taxes that every Texan is paying. The children of illegals are getting taught in the same manner in grades K-12 as their classmates who are US citizens. The Texas state government can not make any laws about naturalization or deportation. Only the US Congress can legislate those laws. The Texas state government can make laws about in-state status, and by a large majority, they made a law that the illegals who have been attending Texas public schools for over three years will pay the same tuition as their classmates who are US citizens. The notion that they are getting a free subsidy or that their illegal status requires they should be made to pay more than their classmates pay is offensive to US citizens with a Mexican heritage. Ron Paul’s statement, blaming illegal immigrants for everything, sounds too much like what Germans were saying about the Jews in the 1930’s.
I realize that the US and Germany are completely different countries, and what happened in Germany does not mean that it will happen here. But it is important to remember the lessons of history, and Republicans must be careful regarding any strategy that could cost them dearly in getting people to vote for a Republican candidate in the future.