The uncommonly prolific Kleinheider over at Volunteer Voters brought something to my attention, and made a funny with the title of the post. He links to Charles Mitchell over at Evangelicals for Mitt.
Mr. Mitchell makes a couple of excellent points. The polling regarding this issue is very easy to tilt in the direction you desire, (perhaps all polls are) depending on how you frame the question. He admits that he’s not well versed in this issue, and advises the Republican candidates to avoid the binary type amnesty/path to citizenship debate that seems to dominate the discussion on immigration. Damn smart advice, I say.
In my opinion, if immigration really affected the average voter as much as the demogouges have tried to say it does, Tom Tancredo would be the run-away candidate in Iowa. Its a complicated issue, and the average voter, hell, the average politician is not well informed about it. Any sort of solution that oversimplifies the problem will be rejected by the American public. There are national security concerns, and there are Human Rights concerns, and thats a trick bag to say the least. Many people involved in this issue agree that no solution is possible until we adopt employ new language when discussing the issue. Attempting to paint all those without legal documentation as part of a raging horde intent on ruining America is just as myopic and dangerous as ignoring the impact of so many undocumented people living in our neighborhoods.
One example of how easily the discussion is derailed is in-state tuition. Mr. Michell states near the bottom of his post:
“Like I said, I’m pretty ambivalent on this issue — but I sure don’t think people who break the law should get in-state tuition.”
Now, I consider myself fairly well informed on this issue, but even I have no clue what the numbers are about this. My first reaction is to ask, “wait a minute, aren’t most of those applying for tuition assistance between the ages of 18 and 20?” If thats the case, its likely that the vast majority came here as minors, and as such were incapable of breaking any laws. Chances are, if they are applying to college, they have a pretty good grasp of English, which indicates that they were brought here quite young. Mike Huckabee summed it up quite nicely when he said that Americans do not think its fair to punish children for the sins of their parents. And he’s right. The people affected by this were probably brought here quite young, attended school, learned the language, and assimilated to the point that they embrace the concept of higher education. I happen to think making them a political wedge issue is beyond stupid.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not picking on Mr. Mitchell. He was honest about immigration not being “his issue’ and he seems to be trying to apply common sense to an issue that deserves it. In the middle of a Primary race, its a gutsy stance.
I’d like to see more of it from both Parties.