Huckabee update, including the actual Pledge Huckabee signed and his informal agreement with Roy Beck
of Gov. Huckabee and Roy Beck speaking at the press conference, with Huckabee signing the pledge and reading it aloud. An exciting moment.
However, the Pledge Huckabee signed does not have the clear and unambiguous langage I was expecting. Its language is more generic. Thus it speaks of not supporting “amnesty.” Yes, but the problem, as we all know, is that different people define “amnesty” differently. Thus it speaks of opposing a “special path” to legalization or citizenship. Yes, but merely blocking a “special path” to legalization doesn’t necessarily mean that illegals can’t get legalized. (Romney’s troublingly vague anti-amnesty position has similar language precluding a “special path”). So as I listened to Huckabee read it, it seemed to me that the Pledge that he signed does not close every possible loophole to legalization.
However, Roy Beck, who is no slouch, has anticipated my concerns. Here, posted at the Numbers USA site, is his account and explanation of the Huckabee Pledge:
Roy Beck writes:
Here is the pledge:
Posted by Lawrence Auster at January 17, 2008 02:43 PM | Send
I pledge to oppose amnesty or any other special path to citizenship for the millions of foreign nationals unlawfully present in the United States. As President, I will fully implement enforcement measures that, over time, will lead to the attrition of our illegal immigrant population. I also pledge to make security of our borders a top priority of my administration.
[LA note: This language is not adequate, as I discuss in my second Huckabee update.]
We allow candidates to take our suggested language on the pledge and mold it to their own style but subject to our approval.
Before accepting this pledge, I emailed the following assumptions contained in the pledge to which Huckabee would have to agree. Staff responded that they were accepted. I then met with Huckabee today to ensure that we were both on the same page and to shake hands on the following agreement:
Governor Huckabee understands his pledge to mean that:
1. The 12 million illegal aliens now here will have to go home. [LA comments: This explains the odd statement in Steven Dinan’s confusingly written lead in the Washington Times, that Huckabee pledges to “make all illegal aliens go home.” In fact there is nothing in the Pledge, or in Huckabee’s informal understanding with Beck, that would force illegals to leave the U.S. The pledge is about attrition, which means enforcing laws including employer sanctions that create an unfavorable environment for illegals so that they will voluntarily leave.]
2. They will not get any legal status while here that allows them to remain long-term.
3. Once in their home countries, they may apply for re-admittance to the U.S. as immigrants, visitors or temporary workers through normal channels.
4. But they will not receive any special privileges on the basis of their having been in the U.S. illegally, such as being put to the front of a line.
5. There will be no new categories or programs through which they may re-enter.
6. There will not be an expansion of green cards in any existing categories that will speed up their movement to the front of the line.
I told the governor that each of those items deals with a trick that one lawmaker or another has tried to use on the American people over the last four years. I told him that I had to be able to assure the 530,000 activist on-line users of NumbersUSA that I had specifically gotten his assurance that he would reject any of those tricks.
It should be noted that most illegal aliens would not qualify to stand in any existing lines, particularly under Huckabee’s overall plan which advocates for the elimination of the chain migration category for adult siblings and an end to the visa lottery.
My prepared statement at the press conference included this:
“Every candidate claims to oppose amnesty, but few define amnesty the way most Americans do. I applaud Gov. Huckabee for defining amnesty correctly, and for pledging to fully enforce laws that would take away the jobs and benefits magnets that draw illegal aliens here—and that keep them here.
“What a contrast to Sen. McCain, Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama, for example, who say they reject amnesty and then, in almost the same breath, say that most illegal aliens will have to be allowed to stay permanently. All three have repeatedly voted for amnesty. In the past week, Sen. McCain and Mayor Giuliani have clarified on national TV that they intend for most illegal aliens to be granted the very things they broke immigration laws to steal: an American job and U.S. residency.
“In a time of economic insecurity for many Americans, and rising joblessness, it is important to know which candidates would permanently fill American jobs with illegal foreign workers. I am pleased that Gov. Huckabee is saying he will not do that. He is taking a stand in favor of American workers, their families and their communities, all of whom need to be assured that once these illegal workers leave this country they will not be allowed back through special new catetories or by increasing the number of green cards in existing ones.”