I’ve been extremely critical of Georgia’s state policies regarding illegal immigration, especially HB 87, which has apparently led to critical farm labor shortages in some areas — and which has uprooted hardworking, taxpaying families that have lived in the state for many years in some cases.
If you don’t like the word “taxpaying”, remember that many workers using false documentation pay payroll taxes for benefits they will never receive and income taxes that will never be refunded. All residents — documented and undocumented — also pay sales taxes. Latino immigrants — both documented and not — have a high labor force participation rate compared to Americans generally. It’s hard to imagine anything worse for the U.S. economy right now than a large-scale exodus of highly productive workers, who will leave a depressed retail landscape and empty housing units behind them.
So my point: good for Newt Gingrich for challenging the more extreme voices in the Republican party by calling in last night’s debate for a “humane” immigration policy.
From the Christian Science Monitor, which also has video from last night:
So perhaps the biggest talking point of the night was Mr. Gingrich’s stance on illegal immigration. Departing from the orthodox Republican line of opposing any form of amnesty, Gingrich said he could not imagine an America that was not “humane” and that did not allow immigrants who have lived and worked in the country “for 25 years” to remain in their families and communities and legalize their status.
Predictably, Gingrich’s rivals attacked him, but I don’t think Newt is going to back down from this fight.
From the CSM:
Gingrich advisers attending the debate said their candidate hadn’t shied away from taking what he believes is a pro-family stance on immigration, and they said the debate should only enhance the perception among Republican voters that Gingrich has a command of the issues.