Is Sarah Palin softer on immigration than her conservative base?
With seemingly everyone enthused, bewildered, or angrily hyperventilating about Sarah Palin “Going Rogue” across the country peddling her new hardcover, I decided to do just a bit of research about Palin’s position on the issue I spend a great deal of time thinking about: immigration. I came across a post at Vdare, an extreme conservative webzine that advocates for a total moratorium on immigration, and saw they had parsed recent Palin media appearances for a clue on her position.
Rush Limbaugh, in his interview of Palin, actually ended with a question on immigration. This was the exchange, according to Vdare:
Limbaugh: Thirty seconds: Immigration. Can you do it in 30 seconds before we have to go?
Gov. Palin: I can’t do it in 30 seconds but just know that … You know, let me put it simply: illegal immigrants are called ‘illegal’ for a reason. We need to crack down on this. We need to listen to the border states where the governors there have some solutions and we need to get serious about that.
Not a very substantive answer. But what’s interesting is that reading between the lines, Vdare worries that Palin isn’t hard-line enough on immigration for their taste. According to Vdare’s Ryan Kennedy, Palin “showed a little tooth. But way too little for the audience she was speaking to.” And Kennedy, Vdare, and those conservatives who want to stop or drastically restrict immigration into the United States are right in being wary of Palin, according to website On the Issues. According to that website, when she ran for vice president, she told Jorge Ramos of Spanish-language network Univision that she did not support a “total amnesty” for the country’s 12 million undocumented immigrants, but she did support a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants if legal immigrants are at the front of that line. She said,
I do because I understand why people would want to be in America. To seek the safety and prosperity, the opportunities, the health that is here. It is so important that yes, people follow the rules so that people can be treated equally and fairly in this country.
On the other hand, conservative radio show host Laura Ingraham has stated that Palin does not support comprehensive immigration reform (which would presumably include a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants), although it’s unclear where Inhragam obtained this information.
Obviously Palin’s immigration position is still in flux. As governor of Alaska she was not forced to take a definitive stance. And as a vice presidential nominee under John McCain, she could hardly come off as being against an immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, since Sen. McCain has been such a champion of a moderate approach to immigration reform.
It will be interesting to see where she goes on immigration as she becomes a national conservative figure, and maybe a presidential candidate in 2012. Will she embrace a moderate stance, or a more hardline restrictionist platform?