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Bloggings: Newt Gingrich says "adios" to immigration reality: deportation - si! humanity - no! by Roger Algase

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At the Republican presidential debate in Des Moines, Iowa, Newt Gingrich provided further details about his plan to bring "humanity" to America's deportation policy. The result? Not much different from Barack Obama's policy: a lot of deportation and not much humanity. 

As Matthew Kolken writes in his December 2 ID blogging. the Pew Hispanic Center estimates that if the threshhold period of presence in the US were set at 10 years in order to qualify for any form of relief from deportation under Gingrich's plan, possibly as many as two thirds of all unauthorized immigrants might be eligible to apply for some form of legal status. If the period were raised to 15 years, 35 per cent might still be eligible.

These are, no doubt, significant numbers. But they are not Newt Gingrich's numbers. At the Iowa debate Gingrich made clear that the threshhold for relief would be 25 years presence in the US. (By comparison, the amnesty that was passed under the "hero" of all Republican candidates, Ronald Reagan, required only 5 years presence.) Even for the comparatively few who could meet the 25 year test, legal status would not be automatic, but would depend on the decisions of "community boards", a/k/a deportation panels.

In places like New York or San Francisco, community boards might show some leniency. How much leniency would they show in Alabama, Arizona or Utah? And what would be the fate of the overshelming majority of unauthorized immigrants, namely those who have been in the US for less than 25 years? According to Gingrich, it would be expedited deportation. Gingrich, evidently, has only one word to say to his previous suggestion of introducing reality and humanity into our deportation system: adios! No more "bravos" for Newt.

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  1. Walter Boes's Avatar
    I never thought of that . Very good writing.
    Any amnesty will only be a magnet for everybody
    in Mexico to head north but any sign up for citizenship
    will only be a sign up for deportation so
    you better bring your suitcase with you.
    Can you imagine who will sign up for those panels?
    It will look like those old westerns when they
    used to shout "give him a trial and then will hang him".
    Very good writing.

  2. Roger Algase's Avatar
    I appreciate Walter Boes' comment. My post did not even mention additional restrictions, in terms of fines and evidence of financial assets, that Newt Gingrich threw into his plan. His goal, obviously, is to create an impression of willingness to do something to help immigrants in order to appeal to Latino voters, while at the same time courting white anti-immigrant votes by making it clear that very few people would actually receive any benefits from his proposal.

    There is also a precedent for this. The 2007 bipartisan CIR bill, which crashed and burned in the Senate in a firestorm of anti-"amnesty" opposition led by Lou Dobbs and other anti-immigrant demagogues, was actually loaded up with many restrictions on access to legalization inserted through Republican amendments.

    It also had so many other poison pills in the form of drastically reducing family green cards, which are so important to Latinos, and replacing the current employment based green card system with an elitist "point system" skewed in favor of fluent English-speakers with advanced degrees only, that the final version was, arguably, more of an anti-immigrant bill than a pro-immigrant bill.

    In fact, I called three Senators' offices myself to ask the Senators in question to vote against the 2007 "CIR" bill. One of them was the Junior Senator from Illinois. (None of the three Senators followed my suggestion.)
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    Man errs so long as he strives
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