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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

FRED THOMPSON: THE ENEMY OF MY ENEMY IS MY FRIEND?

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I'm a Tennessean and remember presidential candidate Fred Thompson's years as my US Senator. I remember him as being a relative moderate non-"crazy" on a variety of issue. This is really in the long tradition of the Tennessee Republican Party and have included moderates like Howard Baker (Thompson's mentor) and Lamar Alexander. 



I also remember Thompson being a realist on immigration matters as opposed to a zealot and willing to try and work for sensible solutions to both legal and illegal immigration problems.



When Thompson's name started getting tossed around as a Presidential candidate, he was immediately touted as the darling of the conservative wing of the GOP. And this really puzzled me because that's not how I remembered Thompson as well, particularly when it came to immigration issues.



Thompson seems to be more than happy to accept the label of right winger including being far to the edge on immigration issues. He's just weighed in on Hazleton and has taken a tough line on any sort of "amnesty".



But I remember a more reasonable, consensus-minded Fred Thompson. For those who have worked on immigration issues for many years, you may remember the "split the bill" campaign in 1996 that involved taking out the most onerous anti-immigration provisions from the 1996 immigration act and also removing the legal immigration provisions (including a moratorium on legal immigration) from the bill. Thompson was on the Judiciary Committee at the time and cast the critical pro-immigration vote in favor of splitting the bill. A lot of people in the pro-immigration community breathed a big sigh of relief thanks to Senator Thompson.



Apparently, others are worried about Thompson's anti-immigration street cred as well. Check out this posting today from FAIR's Dan Stein. Stein is railing against Thompson for choosing former Michigan Senator Spencer Abraham, a Republican and Energy Secretary in George W. Bush's first term, to be a co-manager of his national campaign for President. It is true that Senator Abraham was pro-immigration and I don't think he would make any bones about that. And it is true that Thompson has a pro-immigration record. He voted pro-immigration on various bills like increasing H-1B numbers and visas available to farm workers.



Maybe Senator Thompson has undergone a transformation. Or maybe he is simply choosing to emphasize aspects of his immigration positions that seem the toughest. In any case, I think it's fair to say that Thompson is no Tom Tancredo. And if FAIR hates Thompson, then I think that probably is an indicator that he's not so extreme on the immigration issue after all. Which is what I believed before all of this presidential campaign business began.


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Comments

  1. USC's Avatar
    I for one am glad to hear that Fred Thompson's bark is worse than his bite. However, I am still believe that the Republicans (BTW, I might have come across as being a Democrat from my earlier posts, I am not.) will be washed out in the 2008 elections. They will lose the White House and lose seats in the House & Senate.

    I also think opposing amnesty is a valid opinion for Thompson, however, as a candidate for public office it is wrong to support the kind of vigilantism that towns such as Hazleton are indulging in.

    For instance requiring a Landlord to verify immigration status prior to renting an apartment is beyond the pale. A few months ago I was in Moscow, capital of the erstwhile USSR. Prior to checking in, the hotel checked my passport, visa and then the expiration date. When I queried what was going on, the clerk told me that hotels couldn't rent to guests whose visas had expired. Sure denying people licenses, medical care, accomodation and even food might solve the illegal problem but this is not the kind of nation we are. Is this what we want the US to become?
  2. Another voice's Avatar
    So what is new another one of these guys trying to gang up on migrant workers that travel thousands of miles to come here to feed their families to be dishwashers, contsruction workers, landscapers or pick vegetables. Is not enough that these people have always been poor and had a hard life but now they got Fred Thompson againt them too. I guess the US does not want to be a nation of immigrants anymore. Give me a break with these guys on the GOP.
  3. Fact Checker's Avatar
    "He voted pro-immigration on various bills like increasing H-1B numbers and visas available to farm workers."

    Supporting the H-1b visa is anti-immigrant.

    Question: Who would support preventing immigrant workers from changing jobs?

    Answer: Only people who want to exploit immigrants.
  4. im live chat's Avatar
    A full body x-ray scan is an effective method of maintaining a high level of security
  5. cartoon69's Avatar
    Today was a complete loss, but oh well. I don't care. So it goes. Nothing going on , but shrug. Not much on my mind these days. Such is life.
  6. ebonyjoy's Avatar
    I've just been letting everything pass me by lately. Maybe tomorrow. Today was a complete loss, but that's how it is. Eh. Oh well.
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