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GOP 2012 Field Soft on Immigration?

Republican hard-liners are having a hard time finding a standard-bearer

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is one of many Republican presidential hopefuls whose immigration policies are too much like President Obama’s for hard-liners’ taste. (Photo credit: AFP / Getty Images)

Analysis by Fawn Johnson

Aug. 25, 2011


When Rick Perry got into the Republican presidential race, many party conservatives rejoiced that they had found their candidate. But not the party’s vocal immigration hard-liners. On their issue, they rate the Texas governor slightly worse than the rest of the GOP presidential hopefuls.

“We pulled everything we could get on Perry and immigration, and it came out to a D-minus,” said NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck, who advocates for limited immigration into the United States.

Proponents of tighter immigration restrictions have been a powerful force in the past, foiling then-President George W. Bush’s hopes of enacting a bipartisan overhaul of the nation’s immigration laws and fueling the career of Lou Dobbs. In the upcoming presidential campaign, however, they appear to be a constituency without a candidacy. On immigration, says Beck, “the Republican candidates and [President] Obama are virtually the same.” …

Everyone can agree that border security is important; but beyond that, the policies get fuzzy. Perry and former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman consistently have supported in-state tuition for undocumented students. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has spoken in favor of high-skilled work visas. There’s no one in the field like former Rep. Tom Tancredo, who ran for the presidency in 2008 on a get-tough-on-immigration platform. …

The people who want limited U.S. immigration are tough to please, and they don’t see any champions of their cause among those seeking the GOP nomination. Perry is in good company. NumbersUSA also gave D-minuses to  former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Huntsman, and Romney. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., got a B. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain got a C-minus. Obama received an F-minus. …

Based on her rhetoric, Bachmann is the best among a bunch of poor choices for immigration hard-liners. But the tough-talking debt hawk hasn’t stood out on immigration, even when she had the chance to cosponsor legislation to limit it, Beck said. …

Read the full story at the National Journal


Related reports on this site

Obama Touts ‘Immigration’ Reform (May 11, 2011)

Enforcing Immigration Law (Dec. 26, 2010)

House Democrats OK Illegal Amnesty (Dec. 9, 2010)

Immigration: Government vs. The People (July 28, 2010)

Immigration Enforcement Surge (June 25, 2010)

Arizona Tough on Illegal Immigration (April 23, 2010)

Statement on Illegal Immigration (July 15, 2008)



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