That GOP Debate In New Hampshire: A Pleasant Surprise On Immigration

has a powerful

this morning about Gov. Tim Pawlenty`s

Chamber of Commerce
-compliant immigration policy,
but I am astonished to say I don`t really agree with
Rob`s dismissal of the immigration component in last
night`s GOP presidential debate as "superficial".

The transcript

(I`m excerpting the relevant portion

a YouTube excerpt is


Of course, it`s
scandalous and stupid that none of the candidates called
for 1) an

anti-unemployment immigration moratorium
; 2) a
comprehensive anti-illegal immigration policy comprising
a) a sealed border to stop the illegal flow b)
elimination of the illegal stock by increased
deportation, attrition through enforcement, overthrow of

Plyler v. Doe
abolition of

birthright citizenship

But short of
that, and setting aside all the

about "compassion"

immigrant forebears
that American pols seem to feel
necessary, the candidates were surprisingly
firm—certainly firmer than the moderator, CNN`s John
King, seemed to want or expect.

This can only be
a tribute to the terror inspired in the candidates by

New Hampshire`s
patriotic peasantry—and, we like to
think, to the

that and others in the movement
have been
stockpiling for them all these years.


  • Herman Cain endorsed abolition of
    Birthright Citizenship—he said "I don`t believe
    when asked if the "Anchor Baby"
    loophole should exist.

  • Cain also endorsed Arizona-style
    state action to eliminate the illegal stock, as did
    Pawlenty (!) and Santorum. (I think: he said:
    "the federal government should

    not require states
    to provide
    government services"
  • Santorum also said "We should
    not be offering to people—particularly those who

    broke the law to come here

    overstayed their visa
    —we should not be
    offering government benefits"
    . I presume this
    was a mis-statement, but on its face it seems to
    show an awareness that government transfer payments
    are a

    problem for legal immigration policy

    Milton Friedman`s famous formulation:

  • Both Paul and
    Gingrich contrasted deficient border security with
    the effort made in Iraq and Iran. As Paul put it:
    "We should
    think about protecting our borders, rather than the

    borders between Iraq

    and Afghanistan"
    That may not seem much—but both were interrupted
    with applause. 
    Politicians notice applause. Out on the
    campaign trail, it can end up making policy.


  • Gingrich and
    Pawlenty endorsed using the

    National Guard

    on the

    Mexican border
    in fact, Pawlenty congratulated himself on sending

    Minnesota National Guard.


  • Ron Paul
    heroically responded to King`s tendentious question
    on Emergency Rooms ("A
    5-year-old child of an illegal immigrant walks into
    an emergency room. Does the child get care?"
    ) by
    essentially saying no ("Well,
    first off,

    we shouldn`t have the mandates.

    We bankrupted the


    and the

    schools in Texas

    and other states. We shouldn`t give them easy
    Without prompting, Paul even went on to imply that,

    recent ominous signs,

    he`s cool on amnesty ("We
    shouldn`t give them easy citizenship"


  • Gingrich
    similarly refused to be trapped on amnesty:
    "No serious
    citizen who`s concerned about solving this problem
    should get

    trapped into a yes/no answer

    in which you`re either for totally selling out
    protecting America or you`re

    for totally kicking out 20 million people

    in a heartless way. There are—there are humane,
    practical steps to solve this problem, if we can get
    the politicians and the news media to just deal with
    it honestly."

    This implies awareness of the policy option

    always omitted

    in immigration enthusiast

    attrition through enforcement.


  •  Pawlenty
    even showed awareness that anchor-baby Birthright
    Citizenship is a

    judicial interpretation
    not a constitutional provision:
    "That result
    is because a U.S. Supreme Court determined that that
    right exists, notwithstanding language in the
    In contrast, four years ago

    John McCain

    tried (unsuccessfully) to fool voters into thinking

    Birthright Citizenship

    was somehow blessed by the Founding Fathers.

(Mitt Romney and
Michele Bachmann were not called upon in this exchange,
and did not feel impelled to refer to immigration at
all. But Romney at least made enough pro-patriot noises
to get

Tancredo`s endorsement


Tancredo  bowed

of the last presidential race. And Beltway immigration
patriots have

hopes for Bachma

although they`ve been disappointed before).

Needless to say,
all this and a marked ballot paper could get us amnesty,
or at least a continuation of America`s

post-1965 immigration disaster
But hypocrisy is famously the homage that vice pays to
virtue. And this pandering is the obeisance that GOP
professionals now feel obliged to pay to patriotism.

Put this in
perspective. Note that, in dramatic contrast to the

nightmare reign of the disastrous Dubya,

nobody even mentioned amnesty. 

It`s not perfect,
but it`s good.



for relevant portion of debate—key points highlighted.

Peter Brimelow
(email him) is editor of

and author of the much-denounced
 Alien Nation: Common Sense About America`s Immigration Disaster,

(Random House –
1995) and

The Worm in the Apple
(HarperCollins – 2003)