Here we should start separating the men from the boys (or the women from the girls, to be fair.) Eleven points are at stake and as most know I’m pretty much a hardliner on the subject.
She has the right idea about securing the borders on her campaign site, but Michele Bachmann goes no further as to how. Enforcement of existing law would be a good start, though. The anti-immigration group Numbers USA ranks her highest among GOP candidates, and while I don’t completely agree with their overall stance on the issue it’s a good indicator she’ll do what’s right for Americans. Ten points.
Similarly, Herman Cain promises to “secure our borders, enforce our laws, and promote the existing path to citizenship.” That’s all well and good, but more detail would be good. Helping his cause is that he stood foursquare against amnesty. I think he’ll get nine points.
It’s telling that, aside from the usual mantra of “secure our borders,” Newt Gingrich doesn’t talk about immigration on his campaign site. Maybe it’s because he’s pandering to the so-called Latino vote? I can only give him two points, and that’s in part credit for some past votes. He may think differently now.
Normally I’m a pretty good state’s rights guy, but should we push border security onto the states as Jon Huntsman advocates? The problem with that is California’s version of a “secure” border may not be as tight as Arizona’s. Nor does he address what to do with the illegals who are here; perhaps because he supports the DREAM Act. I’m deducting three points.
I think Gary Johnson‘s immigration approach is naïve, and the idea of any sort of grace period for illegal immigrants rubs me the wrong way. What saves him are some of his ideas about legalizing immigration eventually, such as “one strike, you’re out” – problem is too many already have that strike against them. I’ll call it a wash and keep his point total where it is.
Fred Karger joins the chorus calling for “greatly improved border security” but also advocates “a path to citizenship for immigrants already living in the country.” Smells like amnesty to me, so it’s back in the hole again as I take three points off.
Couched in somewhat soothing language, the approach Thad McCotter takes seems to be pretty sensible. My biggest objection is his caution not to “stigmatize” illegal immigrants – why not? They are flouting the law. His voting record assuages me somewhat, but I’m afraid he may get squishy when push comes to shove. So I’m only giving him five points.
Roy Moore has a somewhat similar view to that of Jon Huntsman in that he would “allow” states to take the lead in border security. But he has a moral position on the issue as well, and I think he would be just fine on the issue because I take it he has a security “floor” in mind which states can exceed if they wish. I’ll give him seven points.
At last, Ron Paul has a decent issues page which includes immigration. And it’s odd because Numbers USA gives him poor marks yet what he says on his page makes some sense, and it’s borne out by his voting record. So I’ll give him six points.
It’s odd that Tim Pawlenty doesn’t devote space to his stance on immigration, particularly when it’s reasonably good per the standards of Numbers USA. Just based on what they say and not having a lot to go on, I think I can safely give him six points.
This video gives a pretty good summary of Buddy Roemer‘s viewpoint. There’s a lot to like, although it’s still a bit short on specifics. He gives the Chamber of Commerce some necessary criticism as well. I think six points is fair.
While Mitt Romney doesn’t address the issue directly on his website, this “unofficial” website makes him look downright hawkish. It’s mainly based on his 2008 statements, but I don’t think he’s flipped much on this. It’s his strongest area so far, and he’ll get nine points.
Rick Santorum also ignores the issue on his website, but his impassioned plea against amnesty in 2006 should count for something. I’ll count it as five points.
As predicted, the field is beginning to spread out. While it’s not impossible for someone outside the top six or so to catch up it’s starting to look like I’m going against conventional wisdom. So what else is new?
- Michele Bachmann – 36 points
- Roy Moore – 32 points
- Herman Cain – 30 points
- Thad McCotter – 28 points
- Rick Santorum – 26 points
- Tim Pawlenty – 25 points
- Newt Gingrich – 23 points
- Ron Paul – 21 points
- Mitt Romney – 21 points
- Buddy Roemer – 16 points
- Jon Huntsman – 13 points
- Gary Johnson – 11 points
- Fred Karger – (-10) points
Meanwhile, on the other side:
While he’s supposedly cracked down on the worst illegal immigrants, Barack Obama is trying to sneak the DREAM Act through and has done little to secure the borders. He loses another seven points.
Meanwhile, the one-note samba that is Randall Terry says nothing about immigration.
- Randall Terry – (-1) points
- Barack Obama – (-35) points