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Jan. 14 2010 - 11:00 am | 2,986 views | 0 recommendations | 10 comments

Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin on immigration reform

Fox News Channel controversies

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I don’t know how many people watched Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck talk yesterday on Fox News, at a specially arranged room in Battery Park, with a view of the Statue of Liberty and New York harbor. When Glenn Beck brought up immigration at the end of the broadcast, it was nearly the most substantive policy exchange they had.

Both Beck and Palin quickly agreed that the immigration system needed to be “streamlined.” It’s interesting that two of the main opinion-makers for the conservative wing of the Republican Party and Tea Party movement seemed so hip to the idea of making it “easier to bring people in,” as Beck put it, which perhaps isn’t the stance they would be expected to take.

Sarah Palin seemed particularly irked that Democrats had been allowed to portray their party as the party of immigration. She said: “(We) are at fault when we allow the other side to capture this immigration issue.” She also said, “We need to continue to be so welcoming.”

She emphasized she was no fan of illegal immigration adding: “People do need to come in the right way they cannot take advantage of what this country has to offer.”I’ve written previously about how conservative figures seem to be softening their views on immigration. Last year, Bill O’Reilly seemed to give a nod to a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, a plan that those who want less immigration have often labeled an amnesty. Lou Dobbs, after leaving CNN, has reached out to Latinos, after years of drawing criticism for his hardline views on immigration.

And I’ve also written about how Palin has drawn flack from the anti-immigration wing of the conservative movement for vague statements that made them suspect that she’s softer on immigration than they would like. After yesterday’s interview Palin and Beck have come closer than ever to expressing their definitive view on the U.S. immigration system. But for starters they believe it needs to be streamlined to make it easier for people to enter the country legally.

Neither spoke about what should be done with the 12 million undocumented immigrants living in this country, but it will be interesting to see where they come down on that sticky issue, since so far they’ve offered a rather moderate vision in terms of their wishes for immigration reform.


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  1. collapse expand

    Marcelo Ballve doesn’t fully understand these issues.

    While some “partiers” are as described, they’ve largely ignored this issue. That’s understandable considering that their leaders are on the wrong side. See my tea party movement coverage for the things that Ballve just doesn’t understand.

    I haven’t looked at Palin’s comments yet but the idea that what the far-left or the “pro-business” wing of the GOP supports would be moderate is more than a bit ludicrous.

  2. collapse expand

    Dear Facebook User– I would like to hear more from you on what the Tea Party movement really thinks about immigration. If you’d care to share some of your material directly with me, I’ll post it, because there’s not much detail out there on this subject, except for stuff seen on signs here and there. And it does seem there’s a divide between the tea partiers and their leaders on this.

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. collapse expand


    Here’s the relevant part of the transcript:

    BECK: Back in the final minutes with Sarah Palin. Just over my shoulder, you see the Statue of Liberty, but just off just a little bit, you’ll see Ellis Island. This year, I’m doing a series of conventions faith, hope and charity. Faith, God is important. Hope comes from telling people the truth. And charity is allowing them to be free.

    PALIN: Yes.

    BECK: That was a center of freedom for so many people. Address immigration, illegal immigration here real quick. You have about two minutes.

    PALIN: Let me address legal immigration and we need to continue to be so welcoming and inviting of those who are represented there by our Statue of Liberty. The immigrants, of course, built this country. And I think republicans, conservatives are at fault when we allow the other side to capture this immigration issue and try to turn this issue into something negative for republicans. I think we need to recognize that again, immigrants built this great country. There are rules to follow if you want to be a part of this great country. Let’s make sure people are following the rules. But let’s welcome this.

    BECK: Do you agree with me make the door wider and make it easier to bring people in, you know, Bill Gates said, I have a hard time keeping people here because it’s so complex. Make, just streamline it and make it easier for people to come in the right way.

    PALIN: Every part of bureaucracy needs to be streamlined, absolutely.
    And people do need to come in the right way. They cannot take advantage of what this country has to offer. The opportunities, the help that is here, they need to do this legally.

  4. collapse expand

    Certainly immigration is a very devisive issue. Most people who seem to want more legal immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants seem to have obvious motivations. Politicians want votes. Democrats know that if they can pass an amnesty they will gain at least 10 million voters with very few opting for the republican party. Businesses and the Chamber of Commerce wants cheap labor subsidized by taxpayers and the friends/families of the 12-20 million illegals want to keep them here. Stuck in the middle are an unimformed public who hears lies like “they are only doing the jobs we won’t”. Try telling that to one of the 18 million unemployed citizens we have. More and more people are finding their ID has been stolen, they are victims of illegal immigrant gang violence or they can’t afford to move away from a house filled with 20 illegals.

    As a country we have limited supplies of everything we must have in order to have the quality of life we have become used to. Unfortunately we are already running out of water (36 states are considered to be in droughts), we rely on hostile nations for energy products, we are paving over farmland for strip malls and we cannot afford the 30-80 million it costs to build schools for every 500-1500 kids. Yet more legal immigrants come here then all other countries combined and some people think it’s not enough.

    It’s far too many. We need to limit the numbers and only allow those who will add to this country, not commit ANY crimes and never burden taxpayers who are already overwhelmed.

  5. collapse expand

    This unsustainable greed cannot last much longer as wages fall and benefits are extinguished by the ruthless use of illegal labor. E-Verify, the local police 287 (g) with the power to arrest, didn’t exist prior to President Bush introduction to the job market. From its inception E-Verify to stem illegal aliens from stealing jobs from millions of legitimized workers as part of the progressive SAVE ACT. A lot of American deaths have been camouflaged, because of the growing raging anger of the population. Trying to pass any Comprehensive Immigration Reform, better known as “AMNESTY” or a free ride to reward illegal immigrant is going to cause the biggest backlash of seething ordinary Americans ever seen since the 1986 immigration amnesty, that was an absolute joke–played on the populace.

    Free trade under the NAFTA treaty became an abomination, as it deposed indigenous farmers from their income lands South of the border, thanks to US agricultural corporations. They needed to feed their families, so in their desperation they came looking for work in the United States. This catch 22 situation has appropriated lands in Mexico for US agricultural interests, at the same time forcing millions striving to reach this nation. As the Obama administration considers CIR, the numbers of illegal immigrants will rise in apportionment to the new AMNESTY law being to be enacted.

    Border States, specifically as CALIFORNIA–a known sanctuary state, is falling apart financially and with no end in sight. Arizona and Texas, must be suffering as any state now, compromised financially by the illegal immigrant occupation? E-Verify continues to contribute to immigration enforcement with a more rational emphasis on identifying foreign workers. It should not be construed as perfect, but it is progressively making headway in removing illegal labor. It’s become a paramount issue because years of neglect by previous administrations, but now–REAL–enforcement is watched carefully by bloggers and non-pandering press. Building on it’s original concept with new tools has added a much stronger and opponents can no longer denies it works? But any enforcement program that is working is normally easy prey for certain corrupt politicians and the open border organizations. E-Verify, a composite of the SAVE ACT–can only get better–that’s if its meant to really succeed? New innovations such as the ID picture comparison program will assist employers in the future. Just like any computer fed application that goes through many debugging versions, until the final cut, E-Verify can only do better as it matures.

    It might seem meaningless now, but if the rush to the border comes, as its been said by bloggers’ like me and even the press, whom normally have their fingers in their ears. That–NOTHING–will–STOP–the onslaught. The US Border Patrol needs to be enforced with the National Guard, because the numbers who try to force a way into America will overwhelm even the imagination? OUR COUNTRY HAS BEEN CRIPPLED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION AND WILL CONTINUE TOO, BECAUSE OF POOR ENFORCEMENT. THE NUMBERS OF 12 TO 13 MILLION ALREADY HERE, DOESN’T ADD UP?

    Those who have urged President Obama to enact this nonsensical AMNESTY, will be out-of-office, in the 2010 election year. Sen.Harry Reid (D-NV) leading the pack of wolves, will be the first to end up on the political funeral pyre. Those who come here from South of border and the very tip of South America, will enter with contagious diseases, criminal records and may be even terrorists. Those who slip across the Canadian border or through lengthy tourist lines at airport terminals could also be carriers of many viruses, not seen in America for fifty years.

    This is not about racism in regards to stopping illegal immigration, unless a large majority of Americans are considered to be? This about billions of dollars being drained from American taxpayers, about billions for education, health care, the prison system and hidden government entitlements. It’s about “THE Rule of LAW” and each administration that refuses to address Immigration Enforcement and allows illegal workers, criminals and even terrorist breaking into a sovereign country. Now they are trying to brain wash us with another–AMNESTY–which we cannot allow to happen? It will be the harbinger of unsustainable population growth according to the US Census Bureau. Don’t take my word: GOOGLE ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, COSTS. & OTHER STATISTICS. MORE INFORMATION ABOUT CORRUPTION AND THE AGENDA OF OPEN BORDER ORGANIZATIONS AT NUMBERSUSA & JUDICIAL WATCH. CALL YOUR SENATOR AND CONGRESSMAN AT 202-224-3121. SAY NO TO AMNESTY! SAY YES TO E-VERIFY & POLICE ARREST 287 (G). SAY ICE RAIDS. SAY YES TO THE SAVE ACT. SAY NO TO OVERPOPULATION. If you are against illegal immigration, we too must bombard WASHINGTON with a 28 cent postcard. There are more patriotic Americans and legal residents than illegal foreign nationals, sponging off taxpayers who will pour into our nation by the millions Just before AMNESTY is signed into law.

  6. collapse expand

    Did Palin and some other conservatives get God? I hardly think so. How soon we forget that open-borders was the longtime policy of Bush. McCain could hardly get his campaign off the blocks until he repudiated his support for amnesty for the 12 million illegals. It’s pretty simple, Republicans are the pro-biz party and high levels of immigration perform two critical functions: 1) it bids down wages 2) it provides more consumers. Of course, being Republicans, they turn a deaf ear to the facts that it costs billions to assimilate immigrants and that immigrants average four times greater GHG emissions here than in their home countries, for starters.
    Most likely, Republicans are competing with the other pro-biz party, the Democrats, to find the best political ground for the upcoming immigration powderpuff fight. Be sure that the phrase “sustainability, not limitless growth” will never come up. Be sure that the US will grow to 450 million apex consumers by 2050. Unless . . .

  7. collapse expand

    On October 29, 2009, Glenn Beck interviewed Doug Hoffman, the candidate for NY-23 special election. The URL for the interview is at http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/196/32205/ so that you can double check.

    There are other articles from the 2006 period where neo-conservatives use language to the effect that they support the undocumented immigrants staying here legally, but they never ever mention legal meaning a path to citizenship.

    The most relevant document is this one signed by numerous neo-conservatives and published in the Wall Street Journal which can be found at:

    Diana Furchtgott-Roth, “Prominent Conservative Intellectuals Publish Statement on Immigration Reform,” The Hudson Institute, July 10, 2006, at http://www.hudson.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=publication_details&id=4112.

    This statement reads: “And the only practical way to deal with these stubborn realities is with a comprehensive solution, one that includes border security, interior enforcement, a guest worker program and status for the illegal immigrants already here.”

    Notice that “status” does not mean “citizenship.” In fact, the statement only mentions “amnesty” in relation to Reagan’s 1986 reform.

    This is followed by this statement: “What this history teaches is that the only way to control immigration is with a combination package – securing the border, enforcing the law in the workplace and creating legal channels for workers to enter the country.”

    Crucially, they describe “workers to enter the country,” not future citizens.

    Essentially, they are in favor of a huge bracero program.

    As they explained, after a crackdown on illegal immigration in the 1950s, “Then Congress expanded the Bracero work-visa program, creating a way for 300,000 immigrants to enter the U.S. legally each year.

    The result? This new legal flow replaced the old illegal influx, and by 1964, INS apprehensions had dropped to fewer than 100,000. As the Congressional Research Service noted in 1980, “Without question, the Bracero program was … instrumental in ending the illegal alien problem of the mid-1940s and 1950s.”

    That to me explains Beck’s position–he wants a new bracero program and to drive out the current undocumented immigrants.

    Beck favors letting in new workers legally and in an easier manner–the Big Business position of more manual workers to drive wages down.

    Beck opposes any legal path to citizenship for the undocumented immigrants already here. In fact, he wants to send them back via a war of attrition directed against businesses hiring them.

    Here is the Beck interview Hoffman:

    PAT: Comprehensive immigration reform. How do you feel about comprehensive immigration reform? Because family values don’t stop at the Rio Grande.

    HOFFMAN: Exactly, exactly.

    PAT: Where do you stand on amnesty?

    HOFFMAN: I do not believe on giving amnesty. I do believe, again, in giving better easier regulations and red tape to make workers that want to come into this country, giving them green cards easier so that we know they’re in here legally and we know that they go out when they’re

    PAT: You know what? That’s the discussion we should be having.

    GLENN: Okay. Now hang on just a second. So you want to make it easier for immigrants to come here through the front door, which I’m totally behind.

    PAT: Yep.

    GLENN: Well, Doug, how are you ever going to get everybody who’s already here out?

    HOFFMAN: Well, that, I don’t have an instant solution for but we certainly have to find a way that we don’t have people sneaking across our borders.

    GLENN: Okay, I got one for you.

    HOFFMAN: Coming in.

    GLENN: Got one for you. Doug, let me help you out. I’m going to give you a drink. I’m buying a cocktail for you.

    HOFFMAN: There it is.

    GLENN: Well, they seem to find their way here. I’m guessing they will be able to find themselves going the other direction. It’s just reverse the map. However, we need an incentive for doing that and that is why we’re going after all of the companies that are hiring these people. They came here for jobs. If the jobs dry up, they will go home. And those jobs are currently being needed by Americans who are here and we know that pay taxes. So let’s go after the giant corporations who are living on the 21st century version of the slave trade, huh? Huh?

    HOFFMAN: Okay.

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    About Me

    Readers, thanks for your eyeball time, please send tips, corrections, complaints, rants, etc. My email is ballve [at] gmail.com. I was born in Buenos Aires and raised there and in Atlanta, Mexico City and Caracas. I've written and reported on Latin America for almost a dozen years. I started out as an Associated Press reporter and editor in the agency’s Brazil and Caribbean bureaus. In 2007 I co-founded El Sol de San Telmo, a community newspaper in Buenos Aires. I am now a contributing editor for the nonprofit New America Media, Americas correspondent for Amsterdam-based Research World magazine (publication of the international association of market and public opinion researchers), and a 2010-2011 Lemann Fellow at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

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      Since 2002 I have been a contributing editor at New America Media, where I write about Latin America and the politics of immigration in the United States.

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