Friday, September 23, 2011
The Republican Presidential candidates debated once again last night. Texas Governor Rick Perry took some shots and was the piñata for the party. As in past debates, the candidates jabbed at each other on immigration.
Here is the full transcript to the debate. Below is the portion of the debate touching on immigration, which was fairly substantial in length but had no real surprises. I agree with Representative Michele Bachmann that we must "end the madness" but we probably disagree on what that madness is. It was telling to hear Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum admit straight-up that he thinks that that Governor Rick Perry was "soft on illegal immigration."
BRET BAIER, ANCHOR OF FOX NEWS: Thanks, Shannon Bream.
After the break, we will be tackling foreign policy, government spending. Shannon will have more on that, too. And also the issue of immigration.
Now, here for a preview of what's to come, let's take a look at what's called a word cloud. It shows the words that were used most often in all of the questions you asked about immigration. The bigger the word, the more often it was used.
The biggest word in this cloud, as you see, is "illegal."
Back after a short break.
pp. 21-27 of 49 page transcript
BAIER: ...round of questions on immigration.
CHRIS WALLACE, FOX NEWS: Congresswoman Bachmann, as you well know, a number of states are trying to crack down on illegal immigration. We got a bunch of questions on immigration like this one from Tim Emerson, this is a text question so you don't need to look up there. Tim Emerson of California.
He wrote this, "would you support each state enforcing the immigration laws since the federal government is not?"
Congresswoman, could you answer Tim's question? And if your answer is yes, how do you square that with the constitution which says that congress has the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization?
MICHELE BACHMANN: Well, the reason why he's asking this question is because the federal government has failed the American people and has failed the states. It's reprehensible that President Obama has sued the state of Arizona and the governor of Arizona for trying to protect the people in Arizona. That's wrong.
BACHMANN: As president of the United States, I would do what my job would demand of me. That's to uphold the sovereignty of the United States of America.
To do that, I would build a fence on America's southern border on every mile, on every yard, on every foot, on every inch of the southern border. I think that's what we have to do, not only build it, but then also have sufficient border security and enforce the laws that are on the books with the ICE agents, with our border security.
And here's the other thing I would do. I would not allow taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal aliens or for their children.
BACHMANN: That's a madness. End the madness for illegal aliens to come into the United States of America.
WALLACE: Congresswoman, thank you.
And we're going to get back to that issue in a moment.
But first, Speaker Gingrich, as you well know, there's a debate going on in Congress right now about whether or not to make all employers, all businesses use E-Verify, a government database, to check whether or not new hires are illegal. Now, some Tea Partiers object to that idea because they say it would turn small businessmen into immigration agents.
But Kristen Williamson of the Federation for American Immigration Reform sent this question. Please look at it.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
QUESTION: Kristen Williamson, the Federal for American Immigration Reform.
Struggling U.S. workers continue to compete with millions of illegal aliens. Do you support legislation to require all employers to use E-Verify in order to ensure that the people that they hire are actually legally authorized to work in the U.S.? And will you impose penalties against employers who continue to hire illegal workers?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: The question, Mr. Speaker, is, should employers be required to use E-Verify?
NEWT GINGRICH: Well, let me say, first of all, I think we would be better off to outsource E-Verify to American Express, MasterCard or Visa, because they actually know how to run a program like that without massive fraud.
GINGRICH: Second, the program should be as easy as swiping your credit card when you buy gasoline. And so I would ask of employers, what is it you would object to in helping the United States of America in dealing with the problem involving illegal immigration?
But, in addition, I want to reinforce what Congresswoman Bachmann said. I strongly favor 100 percent control of the border, and I strongly favor English as the official language of government.
GINGRICH: And I favor modernizing the legal visa system to make it far more convenient, far easier and far more practical. Here in Orlando, where we have a huge interest in people being able to visit easily for tourism, we have a terribly antiquated legal system while our border is too open for people who are illegal.
WALLACE: Mr. Speaker, thank you.
Governor Romney, I want to continue a conversation that you had with Governor Perry in the last debate.
In Massachusetts, you vetoed legislation to provide interstate tuition rates to the children of illegals. Governor Perry of course signed the Texas Dream Act to do exactly that. But what about Governor Perry's argument that it's better to get these kids an education and to get them jobs than to consign them just to being a burden on the state?
MITT ROMNEY: It's an argument I just can't follow. I've got be honest with you, I don't see how it is that a state like Texas -- to go to the University of Texas, if you're an illegal alien, you get an in-state tuition discount. You know how much that is? That's $22,000 a year.
Four years of college, almost $100,000 discount if you are an illegal alien go to the University of Texas. If you are a United States citizen from any one of the other 49 states, you have to pay $100,000 more. That doesn't make sense to me. And that kind of magnet --
ROMNEY: That kind of magnet draws people into this country to get that education, to get the $100,000 break. It makes no sense. We have to have -- just as Speaker Gingrich said, and as Michele Bachmann said as well, Congresswoman Bachmann, and that is we have to have a fence, we have to have enough Border Patrol agents to secure the fence, we have to have a system like E-Verify that employers can use to identify who is here legally and illegally.
We have to crackdown on employers that hire people that are here illegally. And we have to turn off the magnet of extraordinary government benefits like a $100,000 tax credit -- or, excuse me, discount for going to the University of Texas. That shouldn't be allowed. It makes no sense at all.
WALLACE: Governor Perry, I'm going to ask you a question, so you don't need to respond to him, because you're going to get a full minute to answer your question, which is on directly this point. You're the candidate whose name, by a wide margin, came up most often in the questions being submitted to all of you candidates about immigration.
Dave Hollenback (ph) of Arizona sent this "To date, it appears that you have not tried to stop the illegals from coming. We have high unemployment and a considerable amount of jobs going to illegals. Are you going to exert an effort to stop the abuse of U.S. citizens by illegals?"
Now, last year, more than 16,000 children of illegals, young people in Texas, took advantage of your in-state tuition rate. Speak to that issue. And just, generally, how do you feel being criticized by a number of these other candidates on the stage for being too soft on immigration, sir?
RICK PERRY: Well, I feel pretty normal getting criticized by these folks, but the fact of the matter is this: there is nobody on this stage who has spent more time working on border security than I have.
For a decade, I've been the governor of a state with a 1,200-mile border with Mexico. We put $400 million of our taxpayer money into securing that border. We've got our Texas Ranger recon teams there now.
I supported Arizona's immigration law by joining in that lawsuit to defend it. Every day I have Texans on that border that are doing their job.
But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.
I think that's what Texans wanted to do. Out of 181 members of the Texas legislature, when this issue came up, only four dissenting votes.
This was a state issue. Texans voted on it. And I still support it greatly.
WALLACE: Senator Santorum --
RICK SANTORUM: Chris, no one here is suggesting --
WALLACE: Senator Santorum, you don't need to butt in because I was about to ask you a question on this exact issue.
You say that Governor Perry's opposition to building a border along the entire fence shows that he is a "big government moderate."
Question: Is he soft on illegal immigration?
SANTORUM: Governor Perry, no one is suggesting up here that the students that are illegal in this country shouldn't be able to go to a college and university. I think you are sort of making this leap that, unless we subsidize this, the taxpayers subsidize it, they won't be able to go.
Well, most folks who want go to the state of Texas or any other state out of state have to pay the full boat (ph). The point is, why are we subsidizing?
Not that they can't go. They can go. They just have to borrow money, find other sources to be able to go.
And why should they be given preferential treatment as an illegal in this country? That's what we're saying.
SANTORUM: And so, yes, I would say that he is soft on illegal immigration. I think the fact that he doesn't want to build a fence -- he gave a speech in 2001 where he talked about, buy national health insurance between Mexico and Texas. I mean, I don't even think Barack Obama would be for buy national health insurance.
So I think he's very weak on this issue of American sovereignty and protecting our borders and not being a magnet for illegal immigration, yes.
WALLACE: Governor Perry, 30 seconds to respond, sir.
PERRY: I've got one question for him.
Have you ever even been to the border with Mexico?
PERRY: I'm surprised if you have, but you weren't paying attention, because the idea that you --
SANTORUM: Well, the answer is, yes, I have.
PERRY: -- are going to build a wall, a fence for 1,200 miles, and then go 800 miles more to Tijuana, does not make sense. You put the boots on the ground.
We know how to make this work. You put the boots on the ground.
You put the aviation assets --
SANTORUM: But it's not working, Governor.
PERRY: -- in the ground. No, it's not working because the federal government has not --
SANTORUM: But you said we know how it works. Is it working in Texas?
PERRY: The federal government has not engaged in this at all. When I'm the president of the United States, I'll promise you one thing --
SANTORUM: But you're saying you put the assets there. Has it worked in Texas?
PERRY: -- we will put the assets on the ground --
SANTORUM: You said you have.
PERRY: -- the boots on the ground --
BAIER: Senator Santorum, let him finish, please.
PERRY: -- the aviation assets on the ground, and we will stop illegal immigration, we will stop the drug cartels, and we will make America secure.
SANTORUM: Can you answer the question? Is it working?
WALLACE: Well, you know, you asked your question, he gave his answer, sir.
WALLACE: Sometimes we are frustrated with all of you answering questions.
WALLACE: Congressman Paul, I want to ask you a question about a comment you made a couple of weeks ago about a border fence with Mexico. Here's what you said, sir. I want to quote it: "There's capital controls and there's people control. So every time you think of a fence keeping all those bad people out, think about those fences maybe being used against us, keeping us in."
Question, Congressman, do you know a lot of Americans who want to take their money and flee the United States of America?
RON PAUL: There are -- there are some. All the candidates up here talk about repatriation of dollars. They've already taken them overseas.
We're talking about trying to bring in $1.5 trillion because they leave our country, because we make it uncomfortable, too many regulations, too much taxation. They can't start business; they've lost confidence.
Yes, when countries destroy a currency, they do lead to capital controls and they lead to people control. So I think it is a real concern.
And, also, once you have these data banks, the data banks means that everybody is going to be in the data bank. You say, oh, no, the data bank's there for the illegals. But everybody's in the data bank.
That's national ID card. If you care about your personal liberty, you'll be cautious when you feel comfortable, blame all the illegal immigrants for everything. What you need to do is attack their benefits: no free education, no free subsidies, no citizenship, no birth-right citizenship.
And that would get to the bottom of it a lot sooner. But economically, you should not ignore the fact that, in tough economic times, money and people want to leave the country. That's unfortunate.
WALLACE: Congressman Paul, thank you very much, sir.
Here is NYC Attorney Merrill Clark's read on the debate:
1. BACHMAN: “I would build a fence on America's southern border on every mile, on every yard, on every foot, on every inch of the southern border.” Even though I believe in a fence, I would show some “inches” along the border where the fence is just not feasible. Have a Michelle border contest to show such areas! Show us your inches, Anthony Weiner please do not participate! 2. BACHMAN: “I would not allow taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal aliens or for their children.” This includes educating children? Michelle’s “Many children left behind” educational program. She is an attorney? Such education was mandated by the Supreme Court. Uhm [Ron Paul also favors no free education, later in transcript] Michelle, listen to Perry on this on: PERRY: “But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.” Sounds like Perry has somewhat of a heart. Michelle needs heart surgery 3. PERRY: I've got one question for him. Have you ever even been to the border with Mexico? SANTORUM: Yes. Border tours with the Ricks!
1. BACHMAN: “I would build a fence on America's southern border on every mile, on every yard, on every foot, on every inch of the southern border.”
Even though I believe in a fence, I would show some “inches” along the border where the fence is just not feasible. Have a Michelle border contest to show such areas! Show us your inches, Anthony Weiner please do not participate!
2. BACHMAN: “I would not allow taxpayer-funded benefits for illegal aliens or for their children.”
This includes educating children? Michelle’s “Many children left behind” educational program. She is an attorney? Such education was mandated by the Supreme Court. Uhm [Ron Paul also favors no free education, later in transcript]
Michelle, listen to Perry on this on: PERRY: “But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they've been brought there by no fault of their own, I don't think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.”
Sounds like Perry has somewhat of a heart. Michelle needs heart surgery
3. PERRY: I've got one question for him.
Have you ever even been to the border with Mexico?
Border tours with the Ricks!
UPDATE (9/25): Media Matters has taken co-moderator Chris Wallace to task for using the pejorative "illegals" to refer to undocumented immigrants and read a question from the public that used the term, as well.