Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 8: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors. Huckabee thinks he may need a tinfoil hat so his ideas can be seen more clearly.
Huckabee discusses the issues surrounding immigration in 12 pages again. This must be the length of a standard sermon from his days as a minister. The discussion falls in two categories 1. History of immigration to United States and 2. Present day problems with illegal immigration, a. The border must be sealed, b. Illegal immigrants in the United states must be arrested and sent back to their originating country. Simple enough.
All non-native Americans immigrated here from somewhere else. However most of this was done legally. He offers no proof of the fact most prior immigration was legal. I am sure people abducted into slavery and sold to planters here felt they were being treated illegally and unjustly. Numerous people were shipped here as indentured servants; a form of slavery although limited to a definite period and usually agreed to by the servant under some compulsion. Judges used to compel people charged with crimes to immigrate in return for dismissal of charges. So the standards of legal immigration have waxed and waned over the centuries tending to become more stringent as wealth, social benefits and the freedoms and opportunities in this country were more widely recognized. All this was made more complex as transportation became cheaper and faster. However Huckabee seems to be focused on illegal immigration from south of the border that usually comes on land and often on foot in this chapter.
Huckabee extols the past success of immigrants who came here and became Americanized and built the country into what it is today. He doesn’t recognize the vast majority of these immigrants were uneducated, asset less people escaping poverty or worse.. Most immigrants in the past were allowed to come here as cheap labor for our mills, factories and fields. Huckabee points out that it is more difficult for bright, highly educated people to immigrate to this country because of government restrictions while illegal’s mostly uneducated, unskilled and non English speaking come almost at will through our porous southern border.
His first solution is to seal the border. This solution seems to be a perennial one for eons. Huckabee recognizes that politicians have paid lip service to this solution but have failed time and again to implement it. This is probably because one: we need the cheap labor, and two: it provides a relief valve for social problems that might become explosive in Mexico and other Central American countries. We have always acted as a big brother to these countries helping to stabilize them politically and financially.
Witness the number of times we have rescued Mexico financially or the amount of military equipment and training we have provided dictators further south. His solution is vague but it entails more law enforcement at the border. One wonders what we could do other than erect an iron curtain like the Soviets did in eastern Europe, even that was porous to some extent and it would be politically undesirable in our relations with Mexico.
Huckabee believes immigration laws are already on the books but are not enforced stringently and the new Arizona law will provide more power to the police to catch and deport illegals. Huckabee forgets that ICE teams comb neighborhoods at night going from door to door searching for illegal’s to arrest and then separating them from their spouses and children to be deported thus breaking up families. Other times ICE goes to factories for the same purpose. One wonders about the constitutionality of these acts. Although just about anything law enforcement does after 9/11 appears to be lawful by extension of the acts passed by Congress to prevent terrorism but which are also used in other areas.
Huckabee is also for prosecution of employers who knowingly employ illegal aliens. Often the employers have no choice as legal labor is unavailable. Huckabees solution is to raise wages so legal labor will take the jobs. This sounds like a simple solution to our unemployment problems, however these low skilled, low paying backbreaking jobs are likely to be done elsewhere. Do you want your meat packing and food preparation done in Mexico or China outside the jurisdiction of the Food and Drug Administration?
Huckabee backs the Arizona plan where police can stop and ask people who appear to be illegal for proof they are here legally. This plan is currently being challenged by the Justice Department as a violation of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution which gives the Federal Government exclusive dominion over immigration enforcement. Also the Arizona law and the ICE operations are often compared with the German National Socialist government techniques against the Jews, Gypsies and other minorities or France’s extra legal methods of dealing with Gypsies today.
Huckabee is against amnesty plans and would deport the nine to ten million people living here without reference to how long they have been here. Also without reference if their children were born here or without consideration to the taxes they have paid, property and business owned etcetera. Simple solutions are always the best he seems to think. Of course such a vast under taking would not only have dire consequences, including economic, for the people involved but also for the countries involved including the United States.
Huckabee doesn’t talk about children of illegals born here and methods of depriving them of citizenship that is Constitutionally guaranteed however he does talk about the impact these children, both legal and illegal, have on the education systems of the states where they live mainly California, Texas and Florida. However if we do not educate these children and enable them to find good jobs how else are we going to broaden our aging population so there are enough people working to support Social Security and other socially desirable benefit programs for the old or disabled.
Huckabee in this chapter offers no sound assessment to correct the illegal immigration situation. Perhaps more selective and liberal methods should be used or a work permit system like the bracero program for people who don’t want to live here indefinitely. Which he touches on briefly but he fails to deal with those who want to live and work here like the millions who came from Europe before them.
Huckabee is obviously fishing for support from the Christian conservative right, which has always been his base and without saying it those who are members of Tea Party with their tinfoil hats.