Author, Speaker, Radio Host, Civic Leader
“…There is a solution to the illegal immigration crisis—a brilliant, practical, inexpensive free market solution. Helen Krieble of The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation has proposed an idea called the Red Card Solution. This plan would eliminate most illegal border crossings. It would enable Mexican workers to come and go openly and without fear. It would provide U.S. businesses with a steady and dependable labor supply. The worker program would be privately funded, costing taxpayers next to nothing—and it would be monitored by the government. The private sector aspect of the Red Card program would create jobs and business opportunities. Here’s how it would work:
Government-licensed private employment agencies would set up offices in Mexico and other countries with the authority to issue Red Cards, guest worker cards. Each worker would undergo an instant computerized background and would be matched to a specific job for a specific U.S. employer in a specific location. All of that information would be encoded magnetically on the Red Card, which would serve as a guest worker visa. The worker would enter the U.S. legally at controlled checkpoints, eliminating dangerous clandestine border crossings along the desert. Guest workers would be regulated, tracked, monitored, and taxed, and would not have to fear being rounded up and deported by immigration authorities.
The Red Card system would not provide amnesty, a path to citizenship, or permanent resident status. Anyone wishing to emigrate to the United States would have to follow standard legal immigration procedures. This is a brilliant free market approach to a problem that has vexed our nation for decades—and I commend Helen Krieble for proposing a solution that is compassionate, sensible, and workable, and which should make sense to all fair-minded people, whether liberal or conservative. The Red Card concept has been endorsed by Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal, James Carafano of the Heritage Foundation, and Matt Kibbe of Freedom Works. Congressman Mike Pence of Indiana has introduced Red Card legislation in the House of Representatives. This idea deserves your active, vocal support. For more information, visit the Red Card Solution webpage at http://redcardsolution.com/.
According to a 2009 Washington Post-ABC News poll, 74 percent of Americans want secure borders and believe their government is not doing the job of preventing illegal border crossings.  We need to hold our representatives accountable for the security of our borders—and that means action, not just rhetoric.
66. Numbers USA, “Poll Reveals 74% of Americans Want Stronger Borders,” Numbers USA for Lower Immigration Levels, May 1, 2009.
“Krieble’s solution recognizes the need to divide migration into two paths, both of them legal, one focused on permanent immigration while the second path would be dedicated to meeting the needs of temporary labor market demands. The true elegance of Krieble’s solution is that it allows the private sector to meet the demands of the second path through the self-funding mechanism of licensed international employment agencies.”
Former U.S. Representative from Texas’ 26th congressional district (1985–2003) and House Majority Leader (1995–2003).
“The Krieble Foundation’s ‘Two Paths’ guest worker and border security program is an obvious way forward for Congress and America. It creates a consensus by recognizing that we will not be able to effectively secure our borders unless we also address economic realities as well. By providing American employers and temporary guest workers a legal way to operate, we can eliminate the source of much of the current lawlessness at the border. Reducing the overall flow of illegal traffic at the border will allow law enforcement to focus on stopping criminal gangs and capturing terrorists.”
Guest worker cards
HELEN KRIEBLE, a Northern Colorado businesswoman, is promoting a logical and reasonable idea — a guest worker program to match foreign workers with domestic jobs.
It would use a “Red Card” for tracking the employment and status of immigrant workers who have been hired to fill jobs in the United States. In addition to owning an internationally known horse arena in Northern Colorado that employs immigrant workers on a seasonal basis, she also is founder and president of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation.
Her proposed “Red Card” could be “swiped” to obtain pertinent personal information about registered guest workers, such as their photo, employment history and current job status. The program would be privately run and financed solely through applicant fees and businesses wanting to hire legal workers.
Even so, for the Red Card Guest Worker Program to succeed, it would require the cooperation of the federal government, most likely through Congress, for a formal arrangement of conducting criminal background checks and verifying the legal status of participating workers.
Private employment agencies, licensed by the federal government, could open offices in foreign countries and issue the non-citizen worker registry cards in order to match applicants with job openings.
The program would not involve a path to citizenship nor put participants ahead of the line for those seeking permanent entry into the United States. Rather, the Red Card would give foreign workers the freedom to return to their native countries and families between U.S. jobs and to re-enter this country legally when another job for which they qualify becomes available.
Helen Krieble and other proponents believe such a worker permit system would free up resources and manpower needed to control the border and eliminate the need for the vast majority of illegal border crossings.
The Red Card Guest Worker Program is a good idea that deserves serious and thoughtful consideration by our leaders in Washington.
Published by The Pueblo Chieftain.
Townhall.com: An End to Illegal Immigration
At the Republican presidential debate last week (you remember; the one moderated by that bearded guy named “Blitz”), Newt Gingrich stirred up some controversy in his discussion on immigration.
From my perspective as someone who spent a weekend as an illegal alien in 1980, this segment of the debate was of particular interest. I don’t have the editorial space to go into it here, but if you buy the Shiraz (preferably pre-2007 and corked rather than screw cap), I will recount my perilous adventure into the African nation of Swaziland without the permission of the Kingdom.
Speaker Gingrich’s passing comment on the Red Card program caught my attention, “I think you’ve got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with control of the border as the Governor (Rick Perry) said. I believe, ultimately, that … once you’ve put every piece in place, which includes a guest worker program, you need something like a World War II selective service ward that frankly reviews the people who are here. If you’ve come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home, period. If you’ve been here 25 years and you have three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out. The Krieble Foundation has a very good Red Card program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a pass to citizenship. And so there is a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality and you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone.”
The Krieble Foundation is named for Professor Vernon K. Krieble “to further democratic capitalism and to preserve and promote a society of free, educated, healthy and creative individuals.” Professor Krieble’s daughter, Helen Krieble, is the President of the foundation. I have had the pleasure of speaking with Ms. Krieble on several occasions and know her to be a thoughtful and benevolent defender of America’s founding principles.
At a speech to the Heritage Foundation in 2005, Helen Krieble related her personal story of dealing with the onerous bureaucracy of hiring temporary immigrants, “It is so hard to come in legally, it is almost unimaginable. And certainly I have a lot of experience with it because I do use guest workers in my business. And it is a nightmare.” After standing in line at the consulate, outdoors in the sun for eight hours, Ms. Krieble was returned to the end of the line for having folded the application paperwork incorrectly.
Helen Krieble hires about ten guest workers each year to accomplish the messier tasks of her equestrian sports business. And, she does so within the rules. Of course, many American employers and millions of immigrants do not have the patience for the politically charged Ministry of Malarkey that substitutes for an immigration policy.
We all know the realities; stolen Social Security Numbers, unfair competition, cash payments that avoid taxation, abuse of social services and an imposition on our culture. So as a compliant employer and president of a conservative think tank, Ms. Krieble brings a credible perspective that has garnered the appreciation of the “smartest presidential candidate.”
The Red Card Program first considers that guest workers are wholly different from immigrants, that they would have no preference for citizenship and their children born in the United States would not be citizens. Guest workers would be required to hold a “Red Card” that specifically describe the location, employer and job for which the card is issued, along with the duration and personal information about the worker, including biometric data.
Some highlights from the Red Card Program are quoted here:
- The meat of this proposal is that private employment agencies (staffing companies) would be licensed and authorized to set up “Non-Citizen Worker” offices in Mexico and other countries. They would be licensed by the federal Office of Visa Services and empowered to issue “Red Cards” to applicants in their local offices. Prior to issuing the cards, the agencies would be required to run an instant background check on the applicant. These checks, much like those used for firearms sales in the U.S., would be accomplished by contact with the U.S. government and the government of the native country. Cards should not be issued to workers from countries that cannot or will not cooperate in this important respect. The goal is to ensure the cards are not issued to applicants with criminal records or those who have violated the terms of previously issued permits or visas.
- Employers would simply post jobs with the private employment agencies specifying location, duration, wages and other required information – just as they often do within the U.S. today. There are dozens of employment firms, staffing companies, human resource companies and others who specialize in this field, and make their living putting employers and employees together. This would not change the current requirement that employers demonstrate attempts to hire local citizens before seeking non-citizen workers. Since employment firms charge fees for their services, the incentives will always favor local American workers – why pay a fee if you can find the workers you need locally?
- Employers would be able to check the identity and legal status of applicants with a simple swipe of the “smart card,” just as they swipe credit cards for payment. The same card could also be swiped and checked by border agents, law enforcement personnel, and others with a need to identify the holder. It would remain illegal to hire any worker not in the country legally.
- Part of the goal of this proposal is to eliminate the undocumented cash system used by so many employers and workers today. That means employers will have to pay taxes, and follow all the laws that would otherwise relate to hiring local employees. That includes social security, workers compensation, minimum wage, and all other labor laws that apply to American workers. For many employers this would mean a slightly more complicated system, and perhaps slightly higher wages. But most would have a strong incentive to comply: a steady and dependable supply of needed workers, coupled with certain and severe penalties for hiring illegal workers.
- Workers would be required to stay on the job for which the Red Card was issued, and employers would be required to report any worker who left.
- Finally, workers already in the U.S. illegally would be required to leave the country, apply for and legally obtain the Red Card, after which they could return if they had employment. They would have a powerful incentive to do so if the other elements of this plan were implemented – because once legal, they would have the same rights as any worker: minimum wage, health insurance and other benefits, decent working conditions, and the protections of the legal system.
- As soon as there is a legal system for employers and employees, the borders of the United States must be controlled.
The Krieble Foundation contends that once there is a gate, the only folks illegally jumping the fence will be drug traffickers and terrorists. Today, migrant workers, drug traffickers and terrorists all jump the fence together.
The Red Card Program is available online at:
So here is how I see it: We conservatives need to engineer workable solutions to social challenges before liberals beat us to the punch with unsustainable and oppressive programs like Obamacare. This Red Card program, if instituted wholly, would be an enormous improvement over the current fiasco.
The Washington Post: A closer look at Gingrich’s ‘Red Card’ immigration plan
Posted by Suzy Khimm
at 11:13 AM ET, 11/23/2011
Urging compassion on illegal immigration, Newt Gingrich offered a specific idea of how to reform the broken system during the Republican primary debate Tuesday night: the Red Card Solution.
(REUTERS) “The Krieble Foundation is a very good red card program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a pass to citizenship,” Gingrich said. “And so there’s a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality, but you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone… I would urge all of you to look at the Krieble Foundation Plan.”
In fact, the Krieble Foundation has an entire Web site devoted to selling its Red Card Solution, which attempts to separate legalization from citizenship by creating two distinct tracks for immigrants: 1) an expanded migrant/guest worker program that would issue microchipped cards to those who have secured jobs; 2) the current pathway to citizenship, which wouldn’t change under the program.
Employers and law-enforcement officers would check the legal status of temporary workers by swiping these new cards, running them through a database funded by user fees and private companies and overseen by the federal government.
It would still be illegal to hire a worker who’s not in the country legally, but the Red Card Solution would essentially allow employers to circumvent the bureaucratic, backlogged visa system to hire immigrants legally. The “non-citizen workers” participating in the program would be required “to go through a background check and to return home at the end of their employment. It would give them no special place in the citizenship line.”
Also, the children of these non-citizen workers—and, presumably, those born to illegal immigrants— who are born in the United States would not receive “birthright citizenship” that’s granted under the 14th Amendment, which the Krieble Foundation describes as an “absurd practice” that misinterprets the Constitution.
So under this Gingrich-endorsed program, illegal immigrants could presumably apply for work permits and get a Red Card to stay in the country, preventing the kind of deportations that break up families and communities. But what if that longtime immigrant loses her job or is unable to secure one through the program? Under the Red Card plan, she would presumably have to return to her home country. That raises the concern that the program would effectively create a “second class” of migrant workers whose options in the United States are strictly limited. (Reihan Salam raises other good questions here.)
It’s also unclear whether Gingrich’s support for the Red Card will dampen the blowback that’s already begun on the right, accusing him of backing “amnesty” for illegal immigrants. But Gingrich may already have a group of conservatives waiting in the wings to back his immigration compromise: Matt Kibbe, president of Freedomworks; Stephen Moore, the Wall Street Journal columnist; and Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) have all endorsed red cars, as the Krieble Foundation features prominently in the promotional video above.
The Examiner: Immigration: the new GOP social litmus test
By Brian Hughes Staff Writer, November 24, 2011
In a presidential election dominated by economic issues, illegal immigration is emerging as the dominant social litmus test for Republican candidates as voters debate what to do about millions of immigrants now living illegally in America.
With unemployment hovering around 9 percent nationwide, issues like abortion and gay rights that dominated past races have gotten scant attention from the GOP candidates.
Illegal immigration, however, is an issue that ebbs and flows with the U.S. economy. And with voters in battleground states like South Carolina dealing with the fallout of illegal immigration and overseas competition, there is little forgiveness for any Republican proposing to give illegal immigrants a pathway to citizenship.
So when former House Speaker Newt Gingrich this week became the latest Republican to call for a moderate, “humane” solution to illegal immigration — a “way to create legality so they are not separated by their families”– many wondered if his White House aspirations were about to come undone.
Just months earlier, Texas Gov. Rick Perry suffered conservatives’ indignation, and a steep drop in the polls, when he defended a Texas program giving college tuition breaks to illegal immigrants and claimed opponents of the program “did not have a heart.” Former President George W. Bush and John McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, were both forced to walk back comprehensive immigration plans that rank and file Republicans dismissed as amnesty for lawbreakers.
Front-runner Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann, among others, were quick to pounce on Gingrich, saying his proposal would attract more illegal immigrants to America.
But some wonder whether Republicans are limiting their pool of potential converts and turning off independent voters by embracing such a hard-line approach to a largely Hispanic immigrant population.
“I think he is very close to alienating the Latino voters that he needs,” said Alfonso Aguilar of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles. “If Romney continues with his rhetoric, he risks not getting the 40 percent of Latino voters he needs to win the White House.”
Aguilar said he was “very satisfied and encouraged” by Gingrich’s remarks, adding that an increasing number of Republicans were straying from the party line enforced by “talk radio” and “others in the far right that hijacked the issue.”
The test for Republican presidential contenders is whether they can assuage concerns of conservatives without going so far to the right that they alienate Hispanic voters in the race against President Obama. Obama’s campaign on Wednesday ripped Republican candidates, particularly Romney, for espousing programs that Democrats said would lead to the deportation of millions of immigrants.
But Gingrich argues that it makes little sense to force out immigrants who have been in the U.S. for years, paid taxes and avoided legal problems. Gingrich, though, rejects claims that he supports amnesty, saying that his position is rooted in fairness and similar to that of former President Ronald Reagan and other party forbearers.
What remains to be seen is whether Gingrich’s appeal will, like Perry, turn off voters.
“There’s no if, and or but — Newt was calling for amnesty,” said one GOP strategist. “Since he’s such a smart guy, maybe he should call up President Bush, John McCain or heck — even Rick Perry — and ask how that type of rhetoric goes over. It’s not a winning position.”
The Denver Post: Parker woman’s guest-worker plan gets aired in Washington, D.C.
By Nancy Lofholm
The Denver Post
A plan to create a guest-worker program that has been promoted by a Parker woman for more than six years is gaining traction in the national post-election rush for immigration reform.
Helen Krieble has been pushing for a guest-worker permit system that she calls the Red Card Solution as a way to bring workers into the country to do specific jobs for specified periods of time. She has enlisted the aid of former Colorado Republican Party Chairman Dick Wadhams as she promotes her plan in Washington, D.C. this week.
“The election clarified the need for reform that allows something like the Red Card Solution to get some serious debate,” Wadhams said Monday. “She has been tilling the ground for several years on this and it is just starting to come to fruition.” Krieble’s plan would allow workers who had passed background checks and had jobs lined up to come into the U.S. using “smart cards” that would contain microchips carrying personal and biometric information.
The workers would be allowed to stay at a job in the country for up to three years. They would have an option to renew their permits at the end of that period if they still had a clean record.
The program would use private employment firms in foreign countries to match workers with jobs in the U.S. and to issue the credit card-like permits to cross the border. The plan, as Krieble has conceived it, would not require taxpayer funds.
The government already operates guest-worker programs that include the issuance of H2-A and H2-B employment visas, but Krieble said her solution would be simpler and much more nimble and responsive to employer needs for workers than the complicated visa programs.
“My sole focus is finding a usable and feasible work-permit plan,” Krieble said.
Krieble, who owns the Colorado Horse Park equestrian and events center in Parker and runs The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, said she began looking for a guest-worker solution in 1995, when the horse park was raided by immigration agents looking for illegal workers. They found three.
Krieble said the incident involved government agents using dogs, clubs and leg chains, and was traumatic for everyone at the horse park.
Krieble developed her plan and earned the backing of some conservative heavyweights early on, including Newt Gingrich. Her plan has been panned by some on both ends of the political spectrum.
Some conservatives say it would provide businesses a cheap labor pool at the expense of citizens who need jobs. Some immigrant rights groups have criticized it for the second-class status it would confer on workers and the fact that it does not create any path to citizenship.
Krieble bills the solution, on her website, as “a reform plan that wins elections and is good for America.”
National Review Online: Newt Gingrich and the Krieble Foundation Plan
By Reihan Salam
November 23, 2011
During tonight’s foreign policy debate, Newt Gingrich made reference to the “the Krieble Foundation plan.” If I understand correctly, the plan is called “the Red Card solution.” The Krieble family has devoted considerable resources to finding a politically viable way out of the immigration impasse, which is, well, kind of interesting itself, the merits of the plan aside. The plan was drafted by the head of the foundation, Helen Krieble, and it aims to reconcile various clashing interests.
Its basic premise is that “a path to citizenship” isn’t the only viable way forward, as large numbers of migrants are primarily interested in accessing the U.S. labor market rather than permanently settling in the U.S. The current immigration enforcement regime, however, has ended the “circular migration” that once existed, as migrants are afraid of losing access to lucrative job opportunities. Instead, we have an entrenched and socially isolated population of less-skilled migrants without strong attachments to U.S. society. This ultimately leads to entrenched poverty.
One solution is to reduce the social isolation of this population through a path to citizenship. Krieble offers an alternative.
The solution would seem much simpler if leaders understood that the vast majority of illegal workers in theU.S. are not here seeking citizenship, or even permanent resident status. They are workers with families to support back home, and they have every intention and desire to return home. They are here because they cannot hope to earn as much money working at home. They are here for the money, not because they want to be permanentAmericans. …
But the debates about “illegal immigration,” and solutions proposing a “path to citizenship” fuel deep-seated concerns about amnesty – and even voting rights – for people whose only qualification is a blatant defiance of the law. However, since this is not the objective of most illegal aliens, a program to provide legal non-citizen work permits for these people does not require a significant change in immigration laws. It is a private-sector function, the basis of the Red Card solution.
So what exactly is the nature of the Red Card solution?
This approach is based on separating the alien population into two different groups, on two different legal paths. One group that wants to become permanent residents or citizens would have to comply with those laws and procedures, including the vitally important process of assimilating into American culture, learning our history, our government, our language, and especially the responsibilities required of citizens. Citizenship is clearly a responsibility of the federal government. The second group, non-citizen workers, would follow a different path, a simple way for workers and their families to come to the U.S. for specific jobs and for specified periods of time. It would also require them leave the U.S. at the end of that time, and would provide no special access to the citizenship path. Matching employers and employees is a function of the private sector, not the government.
The Red Card solution is far from perfect. A few obvious rejoinders come immediately to mind:
(a) Biometric identification is far from foolproof;
(b) employers might have excessive power over employees under this arrangement;
(c) there are legitimate anxieties surrounding the creation of guest worker programs and their broader implications for the idea of shared democratic citizenship and shared obligations (a few years back, for example, Yuval Levin called for an immigration reform that doesn’t allow lawful permanent residents to remain in the country indefinitely if they have no intention of pursuing citizenship);
(d) if we do create a guest worker program, we might want to distribute Red Cards with a humanitarian interest in mind, as Lant Pritchett and Michael Clemens have proposed (i.e., we might grant Red Cards only to workers from highly-indebted poor countries, like Mali, the Central African Republic, and Zambia, rather than from middle-income countries like Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, and Ghana);
(e) and what happens when Red Card holders give birth to a child on American soil? Replacing birthright citizenship (i.e., a jus soli regime) is controversial, but it might be necessary if we intend to create a population of temporary guest workers.
Apart from (a), which does strike me as serious, these don’t strike me as insurmountable objections. The idea of separating those who intend to become lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens from those who intend to become circular migrants or temporary guest workers is coherent, though of course some immigrants will intend to come in the second category and decide that they’d rather be in the first as they develop attachments. What should be clear is that the Red Card proposal represents a radical departure from the immigration status quo, for better or for worse.
Kudos to Newt Gingrich for advancing a distinctive, unconventional proposal. As much as I disagree with Gingrich on any number of issues, we share a number of fixations. His frequent invocation of “Lean Six Sigma” has become a running joke in some circles. Yet the idea of expecting more managerial rigor from the public sector is, as regular readers know, a subject of consuming interest in these parts, and I’m glad that one candidate has taken up the mantle unironically.
P.S. I should note Mark Krikorian’s strong objections to the proposal.
Huff Post, Latino Voices: Iowa Compact: A Way Forward on Immigration?
With the national spotlight on the Republican Iowa caucuses, a group of prominent Iowans are also entering the immigration fray. On Tuesday they produced the Iowa Compact, a proposal that calls for federal immigration reform that increases legal immigration and refocuses law enforcement on security threats–and away from trying to keep out farm workers.
The Legal Arizona Workers Act and SB 1070 made immigration a state level issue in the 21st century. Since then, numerous states–Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and others–have passed restrictionist laws modeled on SB 1070. Frustrated with the federal government’s inability to enforce its own unworkable laws, these states moved further restrict immigration by penalizing businesses, forcing everyone to comply with E-Verify, and other coercive actions.
Unfortunately, federal lawmakers seem willing to only consider restrictionist policies and President Obama is more concerned with enforcing existing bad laws than with changing them. As a result, state policy makers opposed to SB 1070-style laws have had to come up with their own approaches. Iowa is the latest state to do so.
The Iowa Compact would shift undocumented immigration from the black market into the legal market by creating legal alternatives through increasing work visas and green cards. Today, the vast majority of potential immigrants are not legally able to come to the U.S. The law, quite simply, doesn’t let them. The Iowa Compact wants to eliminate unauthorized immigration by authorizing it.
These Iowans have made a good start in coming to terms with this contentious issue. The fury over immigration–both legal and undocumented–is out of all proportion to the supposed costs. There is no immigrant crime wave, no across-the-board decrease in wages, and no underclass of undocumented immigrants on welfare. Some conservatives are realizing this and changing their tune.
The Iowa Compact took its inspiration from a similar proposal in Utah. In November 2010, former Republican Governor Olene Walker, members from the Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce, Republican legislators, Democratic legislators, and myriad others signed the Utah Compact, which became the model for Iowa’s version.
In early 2011 Utah took the unprecedented step of passing a milder version of SB 1070 with many of the most onerous parts exempted but also added a state-level guest worker pilot program. The program would allow Mexicans from the state of Nuevo Leon to temporarily work for Utah businesses with state-issued identity paperwork.
Providing a legal and comprehensive guest worker program would diminish undocumented immigration greatly. Many undocumented immigrants do not come legally because there is no legal avenue to do so. Utah is trying to eliminate the black market by allowing a legal one to exist.
Another state level group making an impact is Arizona Employers for Immigration Reform (AZEIR), a non-partisan group that holds conferences around the state. Todd Landfried of AZEIR has testified in Texas, Kansas, and other states in opposition to SB 1070-style laws. Landfried regularly invites conservatives, Republicans, and libertarians (like myself) to speak at AZEIR events and discuss SB 1070-style laws from different perspectives.
In California, some prominent conservatives are supporting a proposal strikingly similar to the Utah and Iowa compacts. Robert Loewen, the president of the Orange County Lincoln Club, recently said, “[I]mproving the flow of legal immigration based on businesses’ demand would ease the flow of illegal immigration considerably, making border security easier and cheaper to manage.” He went on, “[W]e do believe that conservatives have a unique opportunity to lead on this issue by making market forces work for us, instead of trying to stifle them.”
Indeed, immigration restrictions were largely supported by anti-capitalist progressives, Democrats, and labor unions in the early 20th century, and, as Loewen says, “[A]ll too often, Republicans have fallen into their trap by either remaining silent about real solutions and/or adopting harsh rhetoric and aggressive measures to enforce flawed immigration laws that were enacted by Democrats in the first place.”
While these state-level efforts are developing spontaneously, there long has been a steady and consistent intellectual voice influencing many of the conservative efforts: that of Helen Krieble, founder and president of the pro-free market Vernon E. Krieble Foundation. Her Red Card Solution would create a fast and secure guest worker program, partly run by private employment agencies, that would direct temporary workers to American firms and employers who need their labor. The system would be an updated version of the Bracero Program, which successfully eliminated undocumented immigration during the 1950s and early 1960s. (Disclosure: CEI has received some contributions in past years from the Vernon E. Krieble Foundation for our work on immigration.)
Krieble, a consistent and principled conservative, pushed this reform idea after dealing with the monstrous federal immigration bureaucracy while hiring legal guest workers. She was once delayed in the process of hiring guest workers because the bureaucrat folded the form incorrectly. Like a true conservative, she realized the government’s rules and regulations were the problem and privatization was the solution. Her speeches have influenced the Orange County Lincoln Club, California conservatives, Newt Gingrich, and many others on the state and local level who are coming around on immigration.
In reaction to increasing restrictions at the state level, many state level organizations are rising to push for more legal immigration and a solution that doesn’t double down on a failed enforcement-only strategy. Federal lawmakers appear paralyzed on immigration reform–all they seem to do is to put more resources toward enforcement. The push for restrictions is on the state level, so the push for a better system has to come there too. With the intellectual weight of Helen Krieble’s ideas, a nationwide, pro-immigration movement with conservatives involvement is gaining strength in the states.
Follow Alex Nowrasteh on Twitter: www.twitter.com/AlexNowrasteh
Guest worker permits should be at the heart of US immigration reform
By Helen Krieble
Suddenly, everyone in Washington seems to agree on the need for immigration reform and even on most of the details. But that’s because nobody has firmly said what those details are yet. A “gang of eight” senators has proposed legislation, several House members have proposals, and a leaked White House immigration plan reveals that the president has very similar designs, so it seems that agreement must be forthcoming.
But only in Washington DC do leaders first vote for the bill so they can later find out what’s in it. In the current immigration debate, what’s in the bills matters a great deal. To solve one of America’s greatest problems, success or failure depends on the details.
Almost every plan includes enhanced border security, better employment verification, a path to some legal status for people already here illegally, and lastly – almost an afterthought – a new guest worker program. But such a program cannot be an afterthought and cannot wait for the details to be added later. It is the cornerstone of the entire effort.
A simple work-permit system can solve the problem for future workers and those already here without authorization. Such a program doesn’t need to blur the line between legal worker status and citizenship. Nor does it need to treat different groups differently, as would the Dream Act, an agricultural jobs bill, or plans that grant green cards to certain students or military service members.
Strong arguments can be made for those plans, but none of them solves more than a fraction of the problem, and they each have features contrary to the American principle of equal treatment under the law. Rather, a plan must guarantee three essential elements – opportunity, protection and fairness – for employers, for new immigrants, for those already here illegally, and for Americans worried about border security.
Opportunity, protection and fairness are in the eye of the beholder, which is why I support a market-driven plan called the Red Card Guest Worker Permit. This plan would let private employment firms set up databases, in which employers can post job listings and workers can post qualifications. Then the employment firms can match workers and jobs, run criminal background checks, and issue work permits. With smart-card technology that allows tracking, updates, renewing or cancelling as needed, these firms would be able to keep pace with the private sector, ahead of the government agencies playing catch-up. This plan has answers for both sides of the aisle.
For conservatives, that means opportunities for businesses to get the workers they need, for workers to find legal jobs and earn good money, and for the economy to grow. It also means protection from mass amnesty and a porous border. And it means fairness, by keeping families together and treating all equally – no special deals for special groups.
For liberals, the program offers opportunity: it gives workers upward mobility, portability and renewal as long as they stay employed and productive. They can apply for citizenship while working legally, as part of a separate process. It means protection against abusive employers, freedom from exploitation, and the ability for workers to enter through a gate rather than risking their lives sneaking across borders. It also means fairness in bringing families together (both sides of the political aisle care about that), equal treatment for all, and a chance for the undocumented to come out the shadows and be treated like all other workers.
Any plan that appeals to people on all sides of this debate should attract attention. A market-based guest worker permit should be part of any immigration reform, but it is more than just one part – it is the foundation.
Paulo Sibaja, Latino leader
Director of Coalitions, Leadership
“As a free-market proponent, I appreciate the Red Card Solution. That is why I am endorsing—as a private citizen—the provisions that make up RSC. Allowing the market, both business and job seekers, to determine the guest worker permitting quota, giving guest workers equal treatment, and ensuring the rule of law, constitutes—for me— a clean, clear, and convincing proposal to ail America’s immigration woes.”
DenverPost.com: Navarrette: Newt and the politics of good
By Ruben Navarrette
Washington Post Writers Group
With Newt Gingrich being attacked for his common-sense immigration proposal by purists on both the right and the left, someone should defend the former House speaker.
The perfect can’t be the enemy of the good. What Gingrich proposes isn’t perfect, but it is pretty good. He wants to create what he calls “a path to legality” for people with deep ties to this country so as to not split up families. Illegal immigrants could receive work permits so they could remain in the United States and keep their families intact.
There is a catch. Illegal immigrants wouldn’t get U.S. citizenship in the bargain. They could still become citizens, but they’d have to do it by returning to their home countries, then re-entering the U.S. legally and going through proper channels to become naturalized. They’d get the steak, but no sauce.
This could work. Citizenship and the voting privileges that come with it have always been less important to the immigrants themselves than to Democrats who salivate at the thought of millions of new voters with a grudge against Republicans. I’ve spoken to many illegal immigrants, and what they want is to work and support their families without being hassled. Most do not have a burning desire to go into the voting booth and choose the lesser of two evils.
For the right-wingers, who like to boil down their opposition to slogans that fit on bumper stickers, a work-permit plan is “amnesty.” For the left-wingers, who like to hold Republicans to high standards regarding how they treat immigrants while holding President Obama to no standards whatsoever, it is a formula for second-class status.
Actually, it’s neither. Those are merely buzzwords that the right and the left throw out to rile up the faithful. What Gingrich proposes — i.e., the “red-card solution” designed by the Denver-based Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, where illegal immigrants would get red cards signifying that they have the legal right to work — would certainly be an improvement on what we have now. Besides, given the vacuous nature of our politics, a candidate should get credit for being bold enough to propose an idea and stand by it. Most candidates play it safe and simply criticize the proposals of others, while telling audiences what they want to hear.
That’s not how Newt rolls. And this is one reason why Gingrich snagged the endorsement of one of New Hampshire’s most influential newspapers, the Union Leader, even though Mitt Romney was thought to have the inside track. The front-page editorial went like this: “We look for conservatives of courage and conviction who are independent-minded, grounded in their core beliefs about this nation and its people, and best equipped for the job. … In this incredibly important election, that candidate is Newt Gingrich.”
The right needs to grow up. It’s not enough to just repeat the word “amnesty” 10 times a day as a way of short-circuiting the immigration debate. We need to hear real solutions and real ideas, and those who can offer neither should get out of the way. If the red-card solution isn’t the way to go, then what would Romney or any other Gingrich critic propose that we do with the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.?
The left needs to grow up as well. Liberals turn up their noses at Gingrich’s half a loaf, and insist that it isn’t enough. Yet they gush over the crumbs from the Obama administration. The president promises reform while Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano promises everyone else “a very robust” deportation policy. This “good cop/bad cop” routine is wearing thin.
Both camps have strong views about what should happen in a perfect world. The right thinks that millions of illegal immigrants will just voluntarily go home if we’re mean to them, and the left thinks that they can all stay, become U.S. citizens and join the PTA.
As far as the extremes are concerned, those are perfect outcomes. But they are mirages. These things are never going to happen. What Newt Gingrich has in mind probably wouldn’t fare well in a perfect world. Yet it could be awfully useful in the real one.
The Foundry: The Red Card Solution: A Different Approach to Immigration, Prosperity, and Security
November 29, 2011
Following last week’s GOP presidential debate, the phrase “red card” has been thrown around quite a bit. No, we’re not talking about soccer penalties or black Friday shopping at Target. We’re talking about the Krieble Foundation’s “Red Card Solution” for U.S. immigration and border security.
Since the concept was raised in last week’s debate, critics have dismissed the proposal, claiming it is nothing more than a back-door amnesty and would serve only to make the problem of illegal immigration worse. Helen E. Krieble, founder and president of the Krieble Foundation, begs to differ:
It absolutely isn’t amnesty.… There’s no amnesty involved.… And it’s not about citizenship or green cards or any of those things, which are clearly the federal government’s job. It gives anybody who is working in the US illegally and has never committed a crime an opportunity to leave the borders, go through the process, and come back legally in one week.
Krieble is exactly right. Let’s take a second to look at the facts.
The Red Card Solution does not propose that illegal immigrants be granted a “path to citizenship”; in fact, it does much the opposite. Citing the fact that many illegal immigrants are not really immigrants at all—many so-called illegal immigrants aren’t here seeking citizenship or even permanent resident status but rather are here for employment, making them illegal temporary workers more than anything else—the Krieble plan seeks to create to separate paths for dealing with the alien population.
One path would deal with permanent-resident, green-card status and citizenship and would fall within the responsibility of the federal government. The other process, however—facilitating a temporary worker program—would fall to the private sector, which would help to match employers with potential employees.
The plan would also require that anyone illegally present in the United States first return home before applying for legal work permit, or red card.
So, not only is the Red Card Solution not amnesty, but it would also adhere to free market principles and help to meet the needs of employers across the United States. Government-certified private-sector entities would work with Mexico and other host nations to open offices abroad and help connect workers with employers so that nobody comes into the country as a guest worker without a job. The private-sector offices would also be responsible for running background checks to make sure criminal aliens would not be admitted into the U.S.
The plan would also alleviate some of the strain on the already overburdened immigration system, and it wouldn’t cost the taxpayers a cent, being funded entirely through user fees. Not to mention the fact that increasing legal avenues for temporary workers to enter the United States would help lower the number of individuals seeking to cross the border illegally, substantially easing the burden placed on border agents.
With the Red Card Solution, “the American people get secure borders, a strong economy, and a safer America.”
The Garnet Spy Blog: Immigration
After the economy, probably the most volatile flashpoint in next year’s election, and the Republican debates now underway, is immigration. Compassion seems to conflict with common sense, reason with reaction. It’s a tough issue and finding a workable and fair solution will not be easy. In this discussion, Newt Gingrich is being blasted by some and bravo’ed by others.
In last week’s Republican presidential debate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich turned the contest on its ear when he stated his proposed policy for handling the nation’s immigration problem.
I am for deporting all recent unattached illegals. I am for a local citizen panel to consider certification of those who have been here 25 years and have family and community and have been law abiding and tax paying.
They could get what the Krieble Foundation developed as a ‘red card’ and be legal, but with no path to citizenship and no right to vote. I do believe if you’ve been here recently and have no ties to the U.S., we should deport you. I do believe we should control the border. I do believe we should have very severe penalties for employers, but I would urge all of you to look at the Krieble Foundation Plan*, Let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.
*The Krieble Foundation supports the creation of ‘smart cards’ that would allow workers that pass certifications to work in the U.S. legally. Gingrich says he supports this concept.
Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, countered by calling this approach “amnesty.” That’s OK, but hardly consistent with what Bachmann herself has said on the subject. At the Reagan Library debate just a few weeks ago, this is how the Congresswoman responded when asked about what to do with the millions already here:
Moderator: A quick 30-second rebuttal on this specific question – the fence is built, the border is under control, what do you do with 11-1/2 million people who are here without documents, and with U.S.-born children?
Bachman: Well that’s right, and again, it is sequential, and it depends upon where they live, how long they have been here, if they have a criminal record; all of those things have to be taken into play.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney has also endorsed the approach taken by Gingrich. Here he is in a 2007 Meet the Press interview:
Romney: My own view is, consistent with what you saw on the little sign, that those people who have come here illegally and are in this country – the 12 million or so that are here illegally – should be able to sign up for permanent residency or citizenship.
There may well be another prominent Republican on the Speaker’s side of this discussion. See what Michael Reagan believes his father would do:
Moderator: Republican Presidential nominees love to mention your father, of course, and sort-of put themselves up there as sort-of the carrier of the Reagan flame; who do you think your father would be rooting for in these upcoming primaries and caucuses?
Reagan: Yea, ABO – Anybody But Obama at this point in time. He would have supported the nominee of the Party, never got involved in the primaries; he believed the parties should choose their person, but he would have said this about last night’s debate, which he would have thought was very good, as I thought it was very good. He would have supported probably Newt Gingrich’s position on immigration. My father would have never broken up a family to try and make, in fact, a point on immigration. And so he would have applauded Newt Gingrich on that, but there was a lot of applause to go around from Ronald Reagan, or myself, watching last night’s debate. But you might remember, Ronald Reagan was the last Republican to carry the Hispanic vote, and he would say to the Republican Party, “You better find a way to reach out to the Hispanic population, or you may find yourself on the ash heap of history.”
Rather than appealing to an emotional issue with emotional reactions, Gingrich is embracing an approach that is workable and reasonable. Fair? Probably, not, but what about this entire issue is fair? If we deport all identified illegal immigrants, how is it fair for American taxpayers to pay out an estimated $150 billion to accomplish such an inefficient plan? Is it fair to pull millions of people from jobs that “legals” won’t take and leave employers with shrunken working ranks?
Newt Gingrich’s approach to the immigration problem is the most realistic – and the most presidential. This article was posted on The Garnet Spy.
The Boston Globe: Gingrich’s immigrant proposal draws fire
Conservative backlash over support for ‘red card’By Matt Viser and Michael Levenson
November 24, 2011
WASHINGTON – Influential conservatives in early-voting states sharply criticized Newt Gingrich yesterday for declaring that some illegal immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country legally, a stance that could imperil his new position atop national polls and as a chief alternative to Mitt Romney.
Some conservatives predicted that Gingrich’s break from Republican orthodoxy could derail his campaign, much as it did for Rick Perry, who sank in the polls after he faced a conservative backlash over his positions on illegal immigration.
“This is a very dangerous area for him to be headed into with only 40 days to go,’’ said Craig Robinson, a former political director of the Iowa Republican Party. “Yeah, he was on his rise, but this is something that could take the air out of his balloon.’’
Others, however, said Gingrich showed courage by offering a plan that would give illegal immigrants who have been in the country for a generation a chance to work here legally, without becoming citizens.
President Reagan “would’ve supported probably the Newt Gingrich position on immigration,’’ Reagan’s son, Michael, said yesterday on Fox News. “My father never would have broken up a family to try and make, in fact, a point on immigration. And so he would have applauded Newt Gingrich on that.’’
The polarized reaction illustrated some of the divisions in the Republican Party, which is split between business-minded Republicans who want to give the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants a pathway to legalization, and Tea Party activists and hard-line conservatives, who favor deportation.
In a debate on Tuesday night, Gingrich wandered right into that highly charged divide. Portraying himself as a “compassionate conservative,’’ he said illegal immigrants who have deep roots in the United States should not be deported.
“I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families,’’ Gingrich said.
Gingrich promoted a “red card’’ proposal developed by the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, a conservative think tank in Denver.
The plan seeks to break the political deadlock over whether to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants by splitting them into two groups. Those seeking citizenship would be put on one track, while the “vast majority’’ who are seeking work only would be issued “red cards’’ that require them to return to their country of origin at the end of their employment.
Representative Mike Pence, an Indiana Republican, Matt Kibbe of FreedomWorks, and Stephen Moore of the Wall Street Journal are among those who have praised the red card idea as a workable solution to illegal immigration.
“It absolutely isn’t amnesty,’’ said Helen E. Krieble, founder and president of the Krieble Foundation. “There’s no amnesty involved. And it’s not about citizenship or green cards or any of those things, which are clearly the federal government’s job.’’
“It gives anybody who is working in the US illegally and has never committed a crime an opportunity to leave the borders, go through the process, and come back legally in one week,’’ Krieble said.
But conservatives – particularly in early states such as Iowa and South Carolina, where Gingrich needs to perform well – said any position that doesn’t crack down on illegal immigrants could haunt Gingrich less than six weeks before the nominating contests begin.
“Newt’s comments will be toxic in the caucus and primary process,’’ said Tim Albrecht, a GOP strategist who is the communications director for Governor Terry Branstad of Iowa.
“Even Republicans who agree with Newt on this issue will have second thoughts after the onslaught of television ads and mailers that tear him apart,’’ Albrecht said. “While not impossible, it’s going to be a lot more difficult to find success on caucus night as a result.’’
Representative Steve King, an Iowa Republican whose endorsement has been hotly courted by the presidential candidates, was among the most prominent voices to criticize Gingrich on immigration.
“When you give people even a promise that they can stay in the country after they’re here illegally you become more of a magnet, and it is a form of amnesty, and more people will come in counting on that,’’ he said yesterday, according to Radio Iowa.
Rick Beltram, a former chairman of the Spartanburg County Republican Party in South Carolina, said Gingrich’s comments would hurt him in that state, as well.
“The conservative voter down here does not want any latitude at all as far as any immigration rule,’’ said Beltram, a Romney supporter. “I understand South Carolina to know that what Newt said last night is not going to play well with a group that he’s trying to befriend.’’
Romney was among those hoping to stoke the concerns.
During a swing through Iowa yesterday, he said Gingrich had “offered a new doorway to amnesty,’’ and said that illegal immigrants “should not be given a special deal or a special accelerated right to become a permanent resident or citizen.’’
Allen Olson, who stepped down as president of the Columbia Tea Party in South Carolina to endorse Gingrich in September, said he hopes Republicans will distinguish between amnesty programs and Gingrich’s proposal to give immigrant workers a “red card’’ that stops short of citizenship.
“I’ve got a few people asking questions,’’ Olson said. “I’ve tried to reiterate that it’s not amnesty he’s offering; it’s residency. . . . I think once the whole story gets out, he’ll be fine.’’
The Gingrich campaign responded to the controversy by pointing to a 2007 interview on “Meet The Press,’’ in which Romney said illegal immigrants should be allowed to apply for citizenship but should not get any special preferences.
Yesterday, Romney reiterated that he does not believe in giving preferences to illegal immigrants.
“My view is people who have waited in line patiently to come to this country legally should be ahead in line,’’ he said in Iowa. “And those who come here illegally should not be given a special deal or a special accelerated right to become a permanent resident or citizen.’’
Krieble said she was dismayed by the harsh response to Gingrich’s plan, which she called a “decent, honorable American approach’’ to illegal immigration.
“The idea that people are going to come down on a candidate for looking for solutions is a very interesting – and bad – thing for the political process,’’ she said. “If we don’t solve this problem, shame on all of us.’’
Yahoo! News: Newt Gingrich ‘prepared to take the heat’ on immigration
November 23, 2011
By Rachel Rose Hartman, Political Reporter
Newt Gingrich, the latest front runner in the 2012 GOP presidential field has wasted little time in testing his appeal for the party’s social conservative base, with comments in Tuesday night’s CNN debate in favor of a more “humane” approach to enforcing immigration law. In the forum–a national-security debate that the cable network cosponsored with conservative think tanks Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute–Gingrich argued to extend the basic protections of citizenship to the families of otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants.
“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family, is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century,” the former House Speaker said. “And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying ‘let’s be humane and enforce the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so they are not separate from their families.’” You can watch Gingrich’s comments in the CNN clip below:
Gingrich—who advocates the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation’s immigration proposal to create “red card” work permits– said he does support deporting recent illegal immigrants. But he did disown a hard-line policy of seeking out and punishing children of illegal immigrants, including those who wish to serve in the U.S. military. As rival candidate Michele Bachmann was quick to point out, Gingrich’s position shares many affinities with the DREAM Act proposal defeated in Congress last year. And Bachmann, together with other conservative candidates on the dais, called out Gingrich for backing a version of amnesty for the families of people who entered the United States illegally.
“I don’t agree that you would make 11 million [illegal] workers [in this country] legal,” Bachmann said. “Because that in effect is amnesty. And I also don’t agree that you would give the DREAM Act on a federal level.”
In a follow-up exchange on the issue, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney said he agreed with Gingrich that foreign students with master’s degrees should be encouraged to remain in this country via green cards. But Romney also stressed that he agreed with moderator Wolf Blitzer’s suggestion that Gingrich’s policies would entice more illegal immigrants to come to America.
“There’s no question,” Romney said. “That will only encourage more people to do the same thing. People respond to incentives, and if you can become a permanent resident of the United States by coming here illegally, you’ll do so.”
Five minutes after the debate ended, Bachmann’s campaign issued a press release entitled “Newt Gingrich’s Open Door to Illegal Immigrant Amnesty.” The Bachmann camp listed Gingrich’s past statements in support of the enforcement policy he outlined tonight.
Gingrich, a staunch conservative, has long backed creating paths for otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants to work in America–but Tuesday’s comments are likely to make significant waves now that he’s atop the presidential polls.
The fledgling 2012 campaign has already seen one early frontrunner stumble on the thorny immigration question. In September, Texas Gov. Rick Perry–who had enjoyed a strong initial run in the polls after he announced his presidential candidacy–tried to make a similar case for a less hard-line immigration policy during a debate in Orlando, Fla.
In that forum, Perry stated that opponents of a Texas policy permitting in-state tuition for the children of illegal immigrants “don’t have a heart.”
After conservatives assailed Perry for that comment, he backpedaled, saying that his choice of words hadn’t been sound.
Former Washington Post reporter Jose Antonio Vargas, who revealed in a June story for the New York Times that he was an undocumented illegal immigrant, offered praise for Gingrich immediately following the forum.
“Both sides need to elevate the conversation about immigration, and that is why I applaud Newt Gingrich for his compassionate, common sense and solution-based approach to our country’s immigration problem,” Vargas wrote in an email to Yahoo News. “The system is broken; that much, we can all agree on. But let’s start talking realistically and pragmatically about dealing with immigrants like me–who were schooled in America and have paid income taxes here in America–who are Americans in all but paper. I ask Gingrich to also visit Define American and perhaps submit a video. How does he define American? “
Gingrich reiterated his position after the debate, telling CNN in an on-camera interview that he can’t imagine any “serious person” telling someone they’ve long known that they must abandon their family, their church as “we’re kicking you out forcibly.”
And he rejected the suggestion his position opens the door to amnesty. “It’s totally inaccurate,” Gingrich replied, saying the next president must work to unify the country with similar measure. “Romney had it right when he said we favor immigration,” Gingrich said of the United States.
The Wall Street Journal: Gingrich Takes Risk With Immigration Stance
November 23, 2011, By Naftali Bendavid
WASHINGTON — In openly embracing a more relaxed approach to immigration than many conservative activists, Newt Gingrich on Tuesday night stepped directly into one of the fiercest debates within the Republican Party.
The former House speaker, during the GOP presidential debate, tied his position to everything from law-and-order to family values to religion. But he still took a major political risk in suggesting that illegal aliens who have lived in the U.S. for a long time should not be deported.
“If you’ve been here 25 years and you’ve got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Mr. Gingrich said, providing the debate’s most striking moment.
The comment didn’t reflect a new position for Mr. Gingrich. He supported a much-debated 1986 law that provided a path to citizenship and he sponsors a website, “The Americano,” which looks at issues important to Hispanics.
Mr. Gingrich’s rivals immediately pounced on him during the debate. “I don’t agree that you would make 11 million workers legal, because that in effect is amnesty,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann (R., Minn.).
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, like Ms. Bachmann, characterized Mr. Gingrich’s position as “amnesty,” a term that is anathema to many conservatives.
“Look, amnesty is a magnet,” Mr. Romney said. “When we have had in the past programs that have said that if people who come here illegally are going to get to stay illegally for the rest of their life, that’s going to only encourage more people to come here illegally.”
Mr. Gingrich, in a tweet Wednesday, lightly mocked Mr. Romney for allegedly changing his position on illegal immigration. “Here’s a trip down memory lane,” Mr. Gingrich said on his Twitter account, linking to a 2007 video of Mr. Romney saying he would support a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. The tweet adds, “So what’s your position on citizenship for illegals again?”
During the debate, Mr. Gingrich mentioned a “red card” program that would allow foreign workers to come to the U.S. if there are jobs for them and they have no desire to become American citizens. Under this program, devised by the Colorado-based Vernon K. Krieble Foundation, private employment agencies would match these visitors with available jobs.
The opportunity to take on the surging Mr. Gingrich over an issue important to many conservatives was a welcome one for his rivals. The GOP primary electorate is strongly conservative, though Mr. Gingrich’s more centrist position on immigration may play better should he become the nominee against President Barack Obama.
The GOP has been deeply torn over immigration. Some top Republicans, including former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and strategist Karl Rove, argue that the country can’t simply deport 11 million undocumented immigrants, and they say the antipathy of the fast-growing Hispanic community poses a significant threat to the party.
Others bristle at the notion that people can violate the country’s immigration laws with what they consider little consequence. The current high unemployment rate seems only to have deepened the frustration over illegal immigration among conservatives and tea-party activists.
Craig Robinson, editor-in-chief of the Iowa Republican website, warned that Mr. Gingrich’s comments could damage his chances in the early primary states.
WSJ’s Nathan Hodge reviews Tuesday’s Republican presidential debate. Highlights include Newt Gingrich’s comments on immigration and Jon Huntsman’s comments on Afghanistan. AP Photo.
“His embrace of amnesty for certain illegal immigrants could make life difficult for him in conservative states like Iowa and South Carolina,” Mr. Robinson wrote in his blog. “Gingrich’s stubbornness on this issue will make winning the Iowa caucuses much more difficult. The only thing that will be remembered in this debate is Gingrich’s pro-amnesty position.”
But Mr. Gingrich didn’t back away from his position on Wednesday, telling Univison’s Jorge Ramos that “I am for immigration reform” and that it would be “impossible” to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. Univision is the nation’s largest Spanish-language network.
The GOP’s recent struggles with the immigration issue have been turbulent. Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.), the party’s most recent presidential candidate, was a key sponsor of an immigration law that would have provided a path to citizenship for undocumented aliens, a position also supported by then-President George W. Bush.
But the legislation failed and Mr. McCain’s position didn’t endear him to conservatives. Mr. McCain appeared to harden his stance during his 2010 Senate re-election campaign, producing an ad that advocated building a border fence with the memorable line, “Complete the danged fence.”
Mr. McCain won re-election to the Senate, but a tough immigration position hasn’t always been good to Republicans. In a recent poll by Latino Decisions, which specializes in surveying the Hispanic electorate, 64% of Latinos said they were likely to vote for Mr. Obama and 22% for the Republican nominee, whoever that is.
More directly, in 2010 former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R., Colo.), a firebrand on the immigration issue, ran a third-party campaign for Colorado governor that helped a Democrat prevail easily.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid won re-election that year despite considerable vulnerabilities, in large part because the state’s Hispanic community solidly backed him.
In the presidential race, Mr. Perry entered as the GOP frontrunner in August, but he soon faded, not least because he defended giving the children of illegal immigrants tuition breaks for state universities, calling critics of the policy “heartless.”
Tuesday wasn’t even the first time this year the immigration issue has been the most compelling moment of a Republican debate. In one recent back-and forth, Mr. Perry accused Mr. Romney of knowingly hiring an illegal alien, which Mr. Romney angrily denied.
Many Republicans say that being tough on illegal immigration appeals to the public’s sense of fairness and order. Arizona and Alabama have both passed far-reaching laws pushed by GOP legislators to crack down on illegal immigration, though Arizona State Sen. Russell Pearce, a chief architect of his state’s law, was recently recalled.
Other GOP leaders warn that the party needs to change the way it talks about immigration, both for policy reasons and in order not to alienate the nation’s fastest-growing minority group, which plays a key role in such swing states as Nevada, Colorado and New Mexico.
“Immigration is a part of the problem, but only a part,” GOP strategist Whit Ayres said in a recent interview. “Republican candidates have to want the support of Hispanic voters. They have to reach out to Hispanics, they have to campaign in Hispanic communities, they have to show a sensitivity to Hispanic concerns.”
With his comments Tuesday night, Mr. Gingrich placed himself solidly in that camp.
The Christian Post: Republicans Debate Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants, Foreign Aid, Syria
November 23, 2011 – By Napp Nazworth
Current front-runner in the Republican presidential race Newt Gingrich advocated a path to citizenship for some illegal immigrants at Tuesday’s debate. Other topics at the CNN debate in Washington, D.C., included foreign aid, the Patriot Act and Syria.
Former Speaker of the House Gingrich advocated a review board to decide if immigrants who currently reside in the United States without proper documentation should be allowed a path to citizenship. Gingrich also explained that he supported the “Red Card Solution” by the Krieble Foundation.
If you’ve come here recently, you’ve got no ties to this country, you ought to go home. Period. If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids, two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes, obeying the law, you belong to a local church. I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Gingrich said.
Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney took exception to Gingrich’s proposal. Amnesty programs create a magnet for illegal immigration, they argued.
When asked about Gingrich’s specific example of someone who has been here for 25 years, Romney, who is tied with Gingrich in most national polls, didn’t directly answer the question, but said it was an “extreme exception.”
“The principle is we’re not going to have an amnesty system that says the people who come here illegally get to stay for the rest of their life in this country legally,” Romney said.
Gingrich responded, “I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy that destroys families that have been here a quarter century.”
Texas Congressman Ron Paul was the only candidate to say that the Patriot Act should be repealed. The Patriot Act was passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to give law enforcement more tools to fight terrorism.
“I think the Patriot Act is unpatriotic, because it undermines our liberty,” Paul charged.
Gingrich and Romney argued that civil liberties are protected in criminal law, but enemy combatants in a war are not afforded those same protections. “There’s a different body of law that relates to war,” Romney said.
Paul countered that Timothy McVeigh was a terrorist and criminal law worked to punish his actions. “You can still provide security without sacrificing our Bill of Rights,” Paul said.
“Timothy McVeigh succeeded. That’s the whole point,” Gingrich responded. “I don’t want a law that says, after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, you try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you.”
Paul then warned that Gingrich’s line of reasoning would lead away from democracy and toward a police state.
Questions from the audience came from scholars at two conservative think tanks – American Enterprise Institute and Heritage Foundation. One of those questions came from Paul Wolfowitz, visiting scholar at American Enterprise Institute, who had served in the Defense Department under President George W. Bush and was president of World Bank. Wolfowitz asked if the money spent under President Bush to fight “AIDS and malaria in Africa and elsewhere,” were “wise expenditures, or do you think we can no longer afford them?”
The question gave former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum an opportunity to display his experience in global development issues.
“Well, as the author of the Global Fund bill and the Millennium Challenge in the United States Senate, someone who worked with the president on PEPFAR to deal with the issue of AIDS in Africa, I believe it’s absolutely essential. Africa was a country on the brink, on the brink of complete meltdown and chaos, which would have been fertile ground for the radical Islamists to be able to get a foothold.
“America is that shining city on the hill. It is the city that comes to the aid of those in trouble in the world,” Santorum answered.
Paul argued that the foreign aid Santorum described is “worthless.” “It doesn’t do any good for the people.”
“The biggest threat to our national security is our financial condition,” Paul said.
Texas Governor Rick Perry had earlier called for a no-fly zone over Syria, along with other sanctions, to try to force Bashar al-Assad to step down. He repeated that position in the debate.
Romney pointed out that al-Assad is not using air power, so a no-fly zone would not have much impact.
“They have 5,000 tanks in Syria. A no-fly zone wouldn’t be the right military action. Maybe a no drive zone,” Romney said to laughter from the audience. “This is a nation which is not bombing its people at this point.”
National Review Online: Gingrich and the Red Card
November 23, 2011 4:30 P.M.
Gingrich and the Red Card
A proposed policy would let companies bring in foreign workers.
In his comments about immigration in last night’s debate, Newt Gingrich played a card not often seen these days in GOP circles: the red card.
“The Krieble Foundation has [proposed] a very good ‘red card’ program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a path to citizenship,” Gingrich said. “And so there’s a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality, but you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone.”
The red-card policy, explains the Krieble Foundation’s Greg Walcher, “would allow private employment agencies to open offices in foreign countries, and would empower them to issue work permits in the form of smart cards.”
“The employment company would run the workers through background checks to make sure they’re not criminals, and then issue the smart card, which enables them to come and go across the border at will so long as they have a job,” Walcher adds. “In other words, it matches specific workers to specific jobs, and then gives them a card that encodes in it all the information that might be needed either by border guards or law enforcement or the employer.” As Gingrich noted, a red card does not grant a path to citizenship.
The red-card program is unrelated to a different immigration topic that Gingrich broached last night: allowing illegal immigrants to stay in the country. Under the red-card program, illegal immigrants would have to leave before applying, and could return only if they found jobs. Gingrich said he is ready “to take the heat for saying, let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.”
Helen Krieble, the Krieble Foundation’s founder and president, explains that her interest in the topic began when she was trying to hire workers to tend her horses and had trouble finding legal employees. “I’ve never met an employer who wants to hire an illegal, and I’ve never met an illegal who wanted to be illegal, but there’s no way to fix it,” she remarks. Currently, the government issues only a small number of temporary-worker visas to low-skilled workers.
The red-card policy has gained some notable supporters over the years. In addition to Gingrich, conservative Indiana congressman Mike Pence has shown support, as have Freedomworks president and CEO Matt Kibbe and Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles executive director Alfonso Aguilar.
“This is a creative, conservative, free-market proposal on immigration, and I think Speaker Gingrich is right in embracing it,” says Aguilar, who was the chief of the U.S. office of citizenship in the George W. Bush administration. “I think that the debate sometimes is oversimplified — this is something Speaker Gingrich has said before as well. We’re kind of, as conservatives, forced to choose between ‘open borders’ and ‘deport everyone.’ Those two are unrealistic alternatives. As conservatives, we’re for the rule of the law, but we’re also for the free market.”
“Immigrants are coming here first and foremost for economic reasons, to take jobs that Americans don’t want or that there are no Americans to fill,” Aguilar adds, arguing that it will boost the economy if American companies that cannot find American workers to do certain jobs are able to hire workers from abroad.
Mark Krikorian, executive director of the “low-immigration, pro-immigrant” Center for Immigration Studies, doesn’t see the red-card program as a credible solution to the immigration problem. “Temporary-worker programs never work,” he says. “Anywhere. Ever. They always lead to high levels of permanent immigration.” Another issue is their impact on American innovation; Krikorian argues that when cheap labor is available, agricultural companies rely on that rather than purchase or develop technologies to get the work done more efficiently.
Furthermore, Krikorian is skeptical that the red-card program’s requirement that workers leave the country when they are no longer employed would be enforced. “If we’re not enforcing the law now, why does anybody imagine we’re going to enforce the law in the future?” he asks. “Show me the enforcement first.”
He also notes that as long as America has birthright citizenship — the policy of giving citizenship to the American-born children of illegal immigrants, based on the Fourteenth Amendment’s decree that “persons born . . . in the United States” are citizens — there will be problems when guest workers have children in the United States. While the Krieble Foundation opposes birthright citizenship, it would be an arduous task to change the status quo, requiring either a law (that could be overturned by the Supreme Court) or a constitutional amendment.
Regarding the argument that temporary workers disproportionately use government-funded services such as schools and medical care, the red-card policy proposes that these workers’ Social Security taxes be redirected to state governments to offset the costs. Non-citizen workers do not receive benefits from Social Security, so it makes sense not to make them contribute to the program, but it’s not clear whether these funds would be enough to recoup the costs incurred by state governments.
A May poll commissioned by the Latino Partnership and conducted by the Tarrance Group suggests that Republican voters are more open to something along the lines of the red-card policy than the initial reaction to Gingrich’s remarks suggests. Fifty-six percent of likely Republican-primary voters supported an immigration plan that included investing resources in securing the border and creating a temporary-worker program designed for those who want to come in and out of the country to work; 39 percent opposed such a policy.
Aguilar also thinks that the Republican candidates, particularly Mitt Romney, might do well to consider more the impact of their immigration positions and rhetoric in the general election. “The problem with the negative narrative on immigration is that if you become the nominee, then you’re going to have a hard time getting enough Latino voter support to win the election,” Aguilar warns.
— Katrina Trinko is an NRO reporter.
National Post: Canadian News: Gingrich faces backlash over immigration policy
November 23, 2011 – By Sheldon Alberts
Postmedia News Washington Correspondent
WASHINGTON — No one would normally mistake Newt Gingrich’s brand of Republican politics with the “compassionate conservatism” once famously espoused by George W. Bush.
In recent days, the GOP presidential candidate has urged Occupy protesters to “go get a job right after you take a bath.” He has also recommended firing unionized school janitors and hiring poor students to work in their place.
But his call during a Republican debate this week for a more “humane” U.S. policy toward illegal immigrants revealed a different side to the former House Speaker — one that may ultimately damage his chances of becoming the party’s 2012 nominee.
Gingrich, now atop several Republican polls, endorsed a version of amnesty that would grant long-term undocumented aliens a ‘red card’ visa allowing them to gain legal status without earning U.S. citizenship.
He also backed elements of the so-called Dream Act, which would award citizenship to illegal immigrants who serve honourably in the U.S. armed forces.
“If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Gingrich said during a Tuesday night Republican debate in Washington.
“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century.”
The moderate position runs counter to prevailing views among many conservative Republicans, who have largely cheered efforts by immigration hardliners in states like Alabama and Arizona to crack down on illegal workers.
Gingrich’s remarks drew sharp denunciations from campaign rivals Mitt Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Minnesota congresswoman Michele Bachmann.
Bachmann’s campaign issued a statement saying Gingrich’s position “effectively equates to amnesty for foreigners residing in the United States unlawfully.”
This is dangerous political territory for Gingrich, who spent months campaigning in virtual anonymity before surging — on the strength of sharp debate performances — into the top tier of the Republican race.
Dating to Bush’s presidency, Republicans have consistently blocked immigration reform legislation that even hints at providing a path to legal status or citizenship for people who have come to America illegally.
Sen. John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee, nearly had his campaign collapse in early-voting states like Iowa and South Carolina for supporting a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
In 2010, Senate Republicans filibustered legislation that would have granted legal status to about 500,000 people who arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16 and had attended college or served in the military.
If anything, Republican sentiment on immigration policy has hardened since then.
The Republican legislature in Alabama last June passed a bill — considered the toughest in the nation — that bars illegal immigrants from attending college and requires public schools to investigate the status of students.
Defending a more moderate approach on immigration has already proven perilous for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who found himself pilloried by right-wing commentators for supporting the provision of college tuition aid to students brought to the U.S. illegally by their parents.
“I don’t think you have a heart,” Perry told other GOP candidates who opposed the tuition assistance. His support in polls began to drop shortly after, as conservatives questioned his stance, and Perry was compelled to express regret for his remark.
Gingrich offered a somewhat more artful defence of his position, saying he was “prepared to take the heat for saying let’s be humane” toward the estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.
Still, Gingrich left an opening for Romney, who has lately been jockeying for top spot in Republican polls with the former House Speaker.
“The idea of focusing a Republican debate on amnesty and who we’re going to give it to is a huge mistake,” Romney said.
Granting legal status to people who came to the U.S. unlawfully would be a “magnet” that is “going to only encourage more people to come here illegally.”
The immigration reform plan favoured by Gingrich is similar in spirit to one supported by President Barack Obama, and one that Bush backed during his second term in the White House.
With comprehensive immigration reform going nowhere in Congress, the Obama administration has recently moved to curtail deportation proceedings against non-criminal undocumented aliens.
Gingrich, for his part, said his position mirrored the view taken by President Ronald Reagan during the 1980s. Gingrich said that if “you have come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home, period.”
But he favours providing skilled worker visas to every foreigner who earned a “graduate degree in math, science and engineering” from an American university.
Long-standing illegal immigrants, Gingrich said, would get a ‘red card’ — a visa for non-citizens — if they left the U.S. and re-entered with the support of an employer.
CNN: Political gamble for Gingrich on immigration
By Tom Cohen, CNN
updated 4:37 PM EST, Wed November 23, 2011
Washington (CNN) — Newt Gingrich said he was ready to “take the heat” for backing limited amnesty for longtime illegal immigrants. The heat came quickly.
Top rivals for the Republican presidential nomination immediately labeled the former House speaker’s stance as outright amnesty — a virtual swear word in to many GOP conservatives.
With Gingrich rising in the polls, his political gamble on such a volatile issue could play well with moderate Republicans and independents crucial to GOP hopes in next year’s presidential election.
The question is how much it will hurt him in the Republican primaries that kick off with the Iowa caucuses on January 3.
Conservatives hold more sway in the nominating process, and Gingrich might have alienated a key segment of the party’s base support with his comments at Tuesday night’s CNN debate that some illegal immigrants who had lived in the United States for decades should be allowed to stay.
Iowa Rep. Steve King, a conservative Republican, said Wednesday that he disagreed with Gingrich’s position, calling it “a form of amnesty” in an interview with Iowa Public Television.
Asked whether the issue meant King would not support Gingrich, King said that it was “something that concerns me” and that he “moved a little bit away last night.”
Dana Loesch, a CNN political contributor and St. Louis tea party organizer, said Gingrich’s position will anger grass-roots conservatives, but she noted that he has been consistent on the issue in his career.
Loesch called Gingrich’s logic on the matter “unsound,” adding that “breaking the law for a quarter of a century does not make that law somehow less illegal.”
At the same time, Loesch praised Gingrich’s overall performance and said she thought he generally helped himself on the night.
That split perspective was reflected in comments on the conservative website TeaPartyNation.com, which ranged from outright anger at Gingrich to praise for what some posters called a reasonable approach.
“I’m sure Newt will be doing a lot of spinning on this, to disarm the ill-effects,” said one comment with the tag of Vern Shotwell. “Won’t work, at least with me. It’s a bad idea.”
Another comment, tagged John Delasaux, responded that Gingrich’s plan was far short of amnesty.
“Newt’s solution is typical of his deeper thought capabilities, and ‘regularizing’ the illegals by giving them a ‘Red Card’ which allows them to achieve a legal status, without a path to citizenship, is a very creative solution to an otherwise insoluble problem,” said the post by Delasaux.
David Gergen, a CNN senior political analyst, noted Gingrich broke from conservative orthodoxy and took a more humane position than people would generally associate with him.
“I think he’ll take a hit in the conservative community,” Gergen said but added that for moderate Republicans and independents, “seeing the humane side of Gingrich tonight might be a plus.”
A CNN/ORC International Poll on Mondayput Gingrich atop the GOP presidential field for the first time, with 24% support, compared with 20% for Mitt Romney in second place. However, the poll also found that 9% of respondents said Gingrich was the most likable candidate.
In addition, the poll found that 71% of Republican respondents believe the main focus of immigration policy should be deporting illegal immigrants and stopping more from coming, compared with 42% of Democrats and 54% of independents.
Toward the end of Tuesday’s debate on national security, Gingrich called for illegal immigrants with little history or ties to the United States to get kicked out. However, he took a different approach with those who have settled in the country and become community members and contributors to society.
“If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out,” Gingrich said.
Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who usually is more moderate than Gingrich, immediately took exception by saying such a policy would attract more illegal immigrants.
“Amnesty is a magnet,” Romney said, but Gingrich was un-swayed.
“I don’t see how the party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century,” Gingrich responded. “And I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, ‘Let’s be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.’ “
On Monday, Gingrich had provided a more detailed description of his plan to CNN, saying long-time illegal immigrants with community ties should be allowed to pay a penalty so they would gain legal status without becoming full citizens.
“You want to become a citizen, you have to go and join at the end of the line the people who are not currently here so that nobody gets cheated for citizenship who’s been obeying the law,” Gingrich said then. As a practical matter, he added, uprooting families by deporting people with 20- and 30-year histories in the country was “not going to happen.”
After Tuesday’s debate, Gingrich told CNN that he wasn’t talking about any kind of blanket amnesty.
“There’s lots of people who will go home” because they are illegal immigrants with no ties or roots in the United States, he said. “There’s also millions who will end up staying.
“I want to be tough, but I do not want to kid people,” Gingrich said, adding that he can’t imagine “any reasonable person” who wants to “tear families apart.”
He also acknowledged a desire to make the Republican Party more palatable to Hispanic voters, a key voting demographic that opposes conservative immigration policies.
“It’s not just the Hispanic community, but we have people who come to America from the whole planet,” Gingrich said, later adding: “It’s important for us to unify the country by having an honest conversation, not just a series of slogans.”
A few minutes later, though, conservative candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota summed up the tea party sentiment about Gingrich’s position, saying: “If you’re legalizing 11 million workers, it sounds like amnesty to me.”
Romney told reporters on Wednesday that Gingrich’s position “offered a new doorway to amnesty.”
“My view is people who come into this country illegally should not have a special break or special pathway to become permanent residents or citizens of this country,” Romney said. “They should be in line or the back of the line with other people who want to come here legally.”
However, former Sen. Alan Simpson, a Wyoming Republican who co-sponsored major immigration legislation in 1986, said Gingrich was making sense in view of current realities.
“I think you have to do something like that,” Simpson told CNN. “What are you going to do, deport them all?”
He had another tip for those confronting the issue today: Avoid referring to the solution as a form of amnesty.
“We never used the word ‘amnesty’ because it’s a flash word” that “gets people all juiced up,” Simpson said.
CBS News: Does Newt Gingrich have an immigration problem after the GOP debate?
November 23, 2011 – CBS NEWS
Did Newt Gingrich have one idea too many? At the CNN national security debate on Tuesday, the former speaker said that he would not be in favor of kicking out illegal immigrant families that had been in the country for a long time. “The party that says it’s the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century?” he said. “I’m prepared to take the heat for saying, ‘Let’s be humane in enforcing the law.’” (watch below) Michele Bachmann said Gingrich was offering amnesty. Mitt Romney said Gingrich was offering a “magnet” that would encourage more illegal immigration.
A similar moment almost exactly two months ago started Rick Perry’s downfall. He said those who didn’t agree with his in-state tuition program for the children of undocumented workers were “heartless.” In 2008 it was John McCain’s support for something conservatives called amnesty that almost killed his campaign.
Whether Gingrich is thrown over the side for his views on immigration will tell us where we are in the Republican nominating race. If he is jettisoned–for this and not the many other reasons–it will mean that conservatives are still looking for the (nonexistent) perfect candidate: One slip up and you’re gone, because we’ve got a hangar full of gleaming models to choose from. If Gingrich does weather this moment, it will mean that the Republican presidential campaign is moving to that inevitable stage at which voters recognize that all candidates are flawed but some are less flawed than others, or have attributes that outweigh their flaws.
After the debate Gingrich stuck to his position on immigration, the broader shape of which is based on a “red card” program put forward by the Krieble Foundation. “Millions will go home,” he said after the debate, “but there will be millions who will be staying.” He said no one should kid themselves about the unworkability of deporting 11 million people. He also made his case on the grounds of simple human kindness. This, almost exactly, was Ronald Reagan’s position. In a 1984 debate with Walter Mondale, the Republican icon said: “I believe in the idea of amnesty for those who have put down roots and lived here, even though sometime back they may have entered illegally.”
Will this hurt the Republican co-front-runner? Maybe not. There aren’t any other candidates left in that closet of Romney alternatives. Voters can’t flee to somewhere else. Unlike Perry, who allowed his “heartless” remark to define him, Gingrich is already well defined as a conservative warrior of long-standing. He has other qualities and attributes people know about to help Febreze a momentary rotten egg. On the other hand, this might remind people why Gingrich might not be a safe bet: He has a lot of ideas, and when he thinks he’s right, there’s no persuading him. This is where Gingrich’s imperial tone–which served him well earlier in the debate when he was exhorting his comrades to “break out of the current mindless bureaucracy of this city” and return to “core issues”–might work against him.
Overall Gingrich hit the GOP sweet spot just as he has in other debates. He had punchy, detailed answers on everything from Social Security reform to the Patriot Act. “I don’t want a law that says after we lose a major American city, we’re sure going to come and find you. I want a law that says, ‘You try to take out an American city, we’re going to stop you,’” he said, to great applause.
Romney, meanwhile, had a perfectly fine night. He was competent and avoided hurting himself or letting any other candidate hurt him. He returned frequently to his anti-Obama talking points and the necessity of American strength. He clashed with Jon Huntsman over the pace of withdrawal in Afghanistan, becoming a little more heated than the moment required (which hinted either at personal animus between the two or a bad pre-show burrito). And when Ron Paul said Congress would never cut the defense budget, Romney rolled his eyes up into his hairline, rattling off a host of weapons systems that were on the chopping block. In answer after answer he had figures and details at the ready, at one point citing the need to reach out to the Alawites in Syria.
In one odd moment during the immigration debate Romney seemed to be criticizing Gingrich’s plan to allow longtime but undocumented families with ties to the community to stay in the country. Pressed by moderator Wolf Blizer (“Blitz,” as Herman Cain called him), Romney said, “I’m not going to start drawing lines here about who gets to stay and who gets to go.” But that seemed to be exactly what he was doing in his critique of Gingrich moments before.
Bachmann argued for continuing aid to Pakistan, saying the country was “too nuclear too fail,” (a line she cribbed from a quote in Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder’s great Atlantic piece on the country). She faced off with Perry, as she did in the last debate, calling his Pakistan policy “hugely naïve.” Bachmann, a member of the House Select Intelligence Committee, has done better in the last two debates on the specifics of foreign policy than she has on domestic issues in the previous debates. By contrast, Cain and Perry were so tentative on most answers it almost seemed as if they were Googling the questions as they were being asked.
The debate probably didn’t change the shape of the Republican race too much, though it will take a while to measure the fallout from Gingrich’s remarks on immigration. Throughout his rise in the polls, Gingrich, who fancies himself a bit of a futurist, has predicted that a moment might come when he says something that dooms his campaign. We’ll know in a week or so whether he called it this time.
CNN Debate: Speaker Gingrich
Partial transcript of CNN National Security Debate. November 22, 2011:
…WOLF BLITZER, DEBATE MODERATOR AND CNN LEAD POLITICAL ANCHOR: Speaker Gingrich, let me let you broaden out this conversation. Back in the ’80s — and you remember this well. I was covering you then. Ronald Reagan and you — you voted for legislation that had a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants, as you well remember. There were, what, maybe 12 million, 10 million — 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States right now.
Some called it amnesty then; they still call it amnesty now. What would you do if you were President of the United States, with these millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in this country for a long time?
FORMER REP. NEWT GINGRICH, R-GA., PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Let me start and just say I think that we ought to have an H-1 visa that goes with every graduate degree in math, science and engineering so that people stay here.
GINGRICH: You know, about five blocks down the street, you’ll see a statue of Einstein. Einstein came here as an immigrant. So let’s be clear how much the United States has drawn upon the world to be richer, better and more inclusive.
I did vote for the Simpson-Mazzoli Act. Ronald Reagan, in his diary, says he signed it — and we were supposed to have 300,000 people get amnesty. There were 3 million. But he signed it because we were going to get two things in return. We were going to get control of the border and we were going to get a guest worker program with employer enforcement.
We got neither. So I think you’ve got to deal with this as a comprehensive approach that starts with controlling the border, as the governor said. I believe ultimately you have to find some system — once you’ve put every piece in place, which includes the guest worker program, you need something like a World War II Selective Service Board that, frankly, reviews the people who are here. If you’re here — if you’ve come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home. period. If you’ve been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you’ve been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don’t think we’re going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out.
The Krieble Foundation is a very good red card program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a pass to citizenship. And so there’s a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality, but you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone….
New Path to Citizenship
GOP is for me: Krieble Foundation Step in the Right Direction
I have just read through the Krieble Foundation’s “Red Card Solution” paper and must confess how impressed I am with this proposed system. Essentially what the paper proposes is the following: To create a massive guest-worker program (Non-immigrant Worker) by which those who are seeking employment in the US can find it without having to necessarily become a citizen of this nation. These Non-immigrant workers and their families would work for a specified amount of time, then return back to their country of origin.
Now here is where the paper takes an interesting turn: What does one do with the approximately 11 million immigrants in the US currently?—-Nothing, except allow the free market to solve this dilemma for the US. ……How?…… Simple. By allowing a great influx of non-immigrant workers, the pool for these workers quickly dries up, which means the families currently residing here would need to move back to their country of origin for a time being in order to apply for this “Red Card” (Non-immigrant Worker Status).
The one situation the paper does not address is that which was highlighted at the most recent debate. What about the families who have been living in the US, though illegally for 25+ years? The answer seems pretty simple. Agreed, a government busting up a family is the last action we want the federal government in which to engage. Moreover, as a pro-family party, it seems irreconcilable to advocate for a government to begin to break up a family with long established roots in the US. Therefore, it seems reasonable to allow these individuals to stay, granted they either apply for citizenship or the non-immigrant worker status, without initially needing to move back to their country of origin, but only imposing a reasonable penalty, enforced through mechanisms such as fines, etc.
This solution seems to avoid all the problems faced by this issue: 1. It does not grant amnesty. 2. It does not seek to forcibly deport 11 million people, who, like it or not, are a crucial aspect of the modern labor force in America.
Conversely, this solution seems to meet all the requirements of a sensible immigration policy: 1. Rule of Law upheld. 2. Does not use big government to begin breaking up families, separating mothers from daughters, and fathers from sons.
LivePunjab.com: Vernon Krieble Foundation proposes red card solution for illegal immigration
By Anter Prakash Singh, LivePunjab.com
Sep. 7, 2011
Illegal immigration has been a serious problem faced by America, but it was started to be viewed even more seriously in the post 9/11 scenario.
But the free movement of workers is also necessary for the economy as is the case with the free movement of goods.
The choices before the administration are not limited to granting amnesty or deporting around 12 million illegal immigrants present in the country. There are other ways available which treat these immigrants much more humanely and restore the rule of law but at the same time help the economy.
The Vernon K Krieble Foundation has proposed a solution to this problem which combines technology with an increased border security and at the same time is capable of supporting the demands of the economy.
Workers from Mexico have continued to come to America which has been allowing immigration whenever it needed the workers and has been closing it whenever the economic or political situation so demanded.
For example during the World War I and II, immigration from Mexico was open but during the Great Depression, around 400,000 workers from Mexico were deported.
The Red Card Solution
The Red Card solution proposes that the companies should be allowed to make recruitments in Mexico. The Red Card will allow workers to come to America and allow the employers and the authorities to track them easily.
It will help in enforcing the immigration laws more effectively but with lesser intrusion by the administration. It is important to note that the Red Card will allow only those workers to come to the United States that have a specific job.
Similar plans have been adopted in Canada and some other countries also. It will help in reducing the illegalimmigration as many of the workers coming to America are more interested in working here than getting citizenship of America.
Fox News Latino: On Immigration, Polls Show Most GOP Voters Share Gingrich Stance
When Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich said in a November debate that undocumented immigrants who have deep roots in the United States should have a chance to legally work here, some jaws dropped.
His rivals questioned his conservative credentials. Observers wondered whether he had doomed his chances with Republican voters.
But a series of polls – including one by Fox News released Friday – on immigration shows that a majority of respondents, including registered Republican voters, think undocumented immigrants should have a shot at legalizing their status, as long as they meet certain criteria.
A series of polls – including one by Fox News released Friday – on immigration show that a majority of respondents, including registered Republican voters, think undocumented immigrants should have a shot at legalizing their status, as long as they meet certain criteria.
Some experts say the polls underscore that on the issue of immigration, at least, the GOP candidates are largely at odds with voters of their party.
“Gingrich at least put his finger on something – which is, we can play politics all we want but the reality is that these [undocumented] immigrants are integrating and becoming members of this society,” said Allert Grown-Gort, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame.
GOP presidential candidate Rep. Michelle Bachmann, from Minnesota, assailed former House Speaker Gingrich for supporting “amnesty,” and has vowed that as president she would pursue deporting all the millions of undocumented immigrants.
But that, say many experts, is logistically impossible. And deporting — let alone finding — the millions of undocumented immigrants doesn’t ring as practical, or seem fair, to many Americans, Brown-Gort said.
“One of the ironies about immigration is that it’s the most human of stories,” he said. “Bachmann says she wants to send 11 million people back. What does 11 million look like?
“Well, it’s the entire state of Ohio,” Brown-Gort said. “When you deport somebody, you’re not just deporting them, you’re affecting — you’re doing damage to — the community, to the schools, these are steps that should not be taken lightly.”
GOP rival and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney criticized Gingrich’s stance on immigration, saying that it would serve as a magnet for more illegal border-crossers.
“That will only encourage more people to do the same thing. People respond to incentives,” Romney said. “If you could become a permanent resident of the United States by coming here illegally, you’ll do so.”
But in the Fox poll, 66 percent of the nearly 1,000 people surveyed nationally said there should be a path to citizenship if the a person meets requirements such as paying back taxes and learning English. That goes further than Gingrich’s proposal, which just allows people who – in the example he gave – have lived here for 25 or more years to work here legally, but not be on a path to citizenship.
Nineteen percent of voters in the Fox poll thought all undocumented immigrants should be deported, and another 13 percent take the middle ground of a guest-worker program that would allow immigrants to remain in the United States for a limited time.
Regardless of political party affiliation, most respondents supported a path to legalization.
A majority of Republicans (57 percent), independents (68 percent) and Democrats (73 percent) said they supported giving undocumented immigrants a path to legalization.
Republicans were more likely than Democrats and independents to want the deportation of all undocumented immigrants. But even so, the percentage that did – 26 percent of Republicans, 14 percent of Democrats and 12 percent of independents – was dramatically smaller than those favoring giving a break to immigrants who meet certain criteria.
Another poll, by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, a nonpartisan group in Washington, showed that 43 percent of respondents favor combining enforcement with a path to legalization. Another 24 percent thought the U.S. government should focus chiefly on a path to citizenship, and about 29 percent thought the focus should be just on enforcement.
Gingrich at least put his finger on something – which is, we can play politics all we want but the reality is that these [undocumented] immigrants are integrating and becoming members of this society.
– Allert Grown-Gort, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame
The poll found that while Republican senior citizens preferred enforcement, younger Republicans favored combining enforcement with a path to legalization.
So why has the tenor of the comments on immigration in the GOP debates been decidedly hard-line when polls reflect a Republican voter preference for something softer?
“A lot of the GOP campaigns have been ill-advised by strategists who truly don’t understand the views of likely Republican voters on the issue of immigration,” said Alfonso Aguilar, executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, a Washington, DC based advocacy group.
“The strategists have bought the argument of anti-immigrant restrictionists who in the past five, six years have penetrated the conservative movement.”
Aguilar, like other Latino conservatives, including U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, has pushed for the Republican Party to soften its take-no-prisoners tone on immigration, particularly if it is to win the support of Latino voters.
“They [restrictionists] have hijacked the issue of immigration in the Republican Party,” said Aguilar, who served in the George W. Bush Administration as chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship. “While they’re a small minority [within Republicans], they’re very vocal, they have a very well-organized political machine and they’re very PR [public relations] savvy. They have convinced the people they advise that the majority of Republicans are anti-immigrant.”
It’s not just polls that indicate divergent views on illegal immigration between voters and campaign talk on the issue, Aguilar says. State Republican legislators themselves have issued warnings about, or helped shelve or defeat, hard-line immigration bills that were introduced in many states.
Of the GOP candidates, Aguilar said, “the only two that understand the importance of the Hispanic voter and view of American Republicans are Gingrich and [Texas Gov. Rick] Perry.”
Perry, who supports some hard-line positions on immigration, came under fire by his fellow GOP rivals for having backed legislation in his state that allows undocumented students to attend public colleges at in-state tuition rates. Perry also does not support the construction of a fence along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, calling it impractical.
“Perry started coming down in the polls,” Aguilar said. “Restrictionists said it was because of his [moderate] comments on immigration, but he came down in the polls because of his poor performance in the debates.”
Contrary to the predictions of many observers that Gingrich would hurt his surging support after his comments on immigration, he has seen an uptick in polls, Aguilar said.
Aguilar, whose group has reached out to various candidates’ campaigns to offer advice on reaching Latino voters, said a Republican candidate would be wise to support “a balanced, common-sense approach to immigration that goes beyond enforcement-only.”
That is an approach, Aguilar said, that can win a Republican candidate support from a conservative base and Latinos, including those who are disillusioned by Obama.
A recent poll by Latino Decisions suggests that immigration reform is the top issue influencing the Latino vote in the lead-up to next year’s presidential race, despite an overall waning interest in the race.
The poll reported that 42 percent of Latino voters were concerned about immigration. Unemployment – which remains higher for Latinos than for the general population — came in second, at a distant 23 percent.
Obama campaigned on a promise to reform immigration in his first year in office, a promise that is believed to have helped him win the majority of Latino votes. Increasingly, Latino voters who consider immigration a priority issue have expressed frustration over what they see as a failure by Obama to push harder for comprehensive immigration reform.
“[Republican candidates] can make inroads into a constituency that was key to Obama winning,” Aguilar said. “They need 40 percent of the Latino vote. Latinos are very upset with Obama. He pandered to them in a very crass way.”
If the Latino Decisions poll is any indication, swaying Latino voters will take work. Even though they are disillusioned, 54 percent Latinos still said in the poll that they were certain that they would vote for Obama in 2012.
Obama’s re-election campaign officials say that Republicans have been no friend to Latinos, and that they have been the obstacle to efforts to reform the immigration system.
“The choice for Hispanic Americans,” said campaign spokesperson Gabriela Domenzain, “is between a President who passed legislation that kept two million Latinos out of poverty, provided 150,000 additional Hispanic students with the means to go to college, and fought to pass comprehensive immigration reform and the DREAM Act and a Republican field whose leading candidates oppose the DREAM Act and a path to citizenship for immigrants and would slash funding for education, Medicare, and Social Security.”
Elizabeth Llorente can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org
The article was published on Fox News Latino.
Forbes.com: Taking a Good Look at the “Red Card Solution”
Jan. 20 2011 – 12:24 pm
What if there was a policy proposal that could reduce illegal immigration and help save lives at the border? One would hope it could gain political support, particularly if it relied less on the government than on the private sector. There is such a policy proposal. It’s called providing work permits or temporary visas to less-skilled foreign workers to fill jobs in the United States. And one way offered on how to accomplish this is called the “red card solution.”
A free market solution
|GOP should back temporary worker program|
By ALFONSO AGUILAR
HOUSTON CHRONICLEOct. 23, 2010, 3:45PMRonald Reagan was a free market conservative. Reagan understood that economic growth and real wealth are produced by the private sector through a vibrant system of competition, free of high taxes and overregulation. As a true believer in free market principles, he also advanced the cause of free trade. Trade with foreign countries and without tariffs or other government barriers allows for the free flow of goods and services through our borders, improving U.S. competitiveness and expanding markets for U.S. companies.Since the 1980s GOP leaders have by and large lived up to Reagan’s philosophy that government is more often not the answer, but actually the problem. Republicans have fought against government efforts to curtail private initiative and entrepreneurship. And on free trade, there can be no doubt that Republicans have backed with near unanimity the most important trade agreements of the past 20 years.Yet, despite this impressive record of consistently defending the free market, a minority of Republicans, assisted, unfortunately, by the silence of the majority of GOP leaders, has recently joined big labor unions and other business bashers in opposing one of the most basic and necessary free market measures of our recent history: a workable temporary worker program.There can be no doubt that our economy needs a steady stream of foreign workers to perform jobs Americans don’t want to do or for which there are simply not enough Americans of working age. Even during these difficult times, there are many industries that could not continue to exist in this country without foreign labor. Agriculture is certainly one of them.The reality is that most Americans don’t want to pick fruit, mow lawns or wash dishes. Most feel they are overeducated for this type of work. Moreover, in many regions of the country employers cannot find American workers under 50 to do many labor intensive jobs. Let’s face the facts: Our native born population is aging and we don’t have enough people to replenish our unskilled workforce.Our economy’s demand for unskilled workers is the main reason why so many immigrants come to America. It’s not to receive social benefits or deliver “anchor babies.”However, there are not enough work visas for them to come in legally. Hence, they end up entering illegally or overstaying their visas. Contrary to conventional wisdom, immigrants wouldn’t mind standing in line to get in legally; the problem is that there is no line.Just as in other areas, in the field of immigration government has created the problem. Congress has arbitrarily set stringent quotas on the number of foreign workers that can enter each year, which have no relationship to the needs of the market. The yearly limit for unskilled non-agricultural workers, for example, is only 66,000 a year.A demand-based temporary worker program would more realistically determine the number of workers we would allow to come in each year. During years of strong growth that number would increase and during downturns, the number would decrease.This is not a new idea. In 2006, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., introduced legislation to implement a market-based temporary worker program, modeled after the Vernon Krieble Foundation’s “Red Card Solution” proposal.A temporary worker program not only would address the unskilled work force shortages of our economy, but is also essential to end illegal immigration. Immigrants would have enough visas available to enter legally as most of them want. Also, many, perhaps most, will not remain permanently in the U.S. as happens now. Contrary to popular belief, if free to do so, many migrants would come here just to earn money and then go back home. If they stay it is often because they are illegally in the country and returning home would require having to go through the unpleasant experience of trying to enter illegally all over again.Democrats, including President Obama, pay lip service to immigration reform, but in reality submit to a big labor veto on a temporary worker program. They just don’t want to see more foreign workers in the country. For them, to quote Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., immigrants are just “a pool of cheap labor.”Now, this opposition to a market-based plan is understandable from liberals, who believe government should be actively involved in micromanaging the economy and the markets, but not from conservatives who stand under the mantle of Reagan. If you’re a pro-market conservative, you cannot be against a demand-based temporary worker program. It’s that simple.The majority of Republicans and conservatives should stand up to the small but vocal minority of anti-market restrictionists within our ranks and tell them loud and clear that they don’t represent the view of Reagan conservatives. The time has come for Reagan conservatives to reclaim the immigration issue and propose a market-based solution to the immigration mess Washington has put us in.Aguilar is the executive director of the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles and former chief of the U.S. Office of Citizenship during the George W. Bush administration.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich Touts The Red Card Solution on, “On The Record w/ Greta”
June 4, 2010, Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich was a guest on, “On The Record w/ Greta”, to discuss immigration, as well as other important issues facing America today. While talking about the importance of finding a reasonable and secure way to help the US invite workers to our great country securely and legally, Mr. Gingrich mentioned The Red Card Solution specifically as a viable option to achieve this goal:
“GINGRICH: What’s happening as an issue is you’re building a huge block in the middle that — and you know, one survey I saw that Fox News did, 74 percent of the country thinks you ought to, in fact, check people to see whether or not they’re here legally. Well, you start getting up to — it was, like, 74-to-16. That’s, like, almost a 4-to-1, almost 5-to-1 margin. You start getting that kind of consensus, and at some point, the system breaks and it has to pass it because they can’t run for reelection with that kind of thing.
So I think you will see a control of the border. I think you’re also going to see — I was meeting today with Helen Kriebel (ph) of the Kriebel Foundation (INAUDIBLE) what she calls the “red card solution,” which is a guest worker card that would be issued by American Express or Visa or Mastercard that would be accurate in identifying who you are. And there are pieces are going to come together.”
Immigration plan gaining momentum
Gingrich among fans of ‘red card’ conceived by Denver foundation.
Immigration plan gaining momentum
By PATRICK MALONE The Pueblo Chieftain
DENVER — An immigration strategy hatched by a Denver-based foundation that relies heavily on the private sector is gaining interest nationally since Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich endorsed it during a debate last month.
The strategy, however, provides no path to citizenship.
“We’re seeing signs that it’s picking up steam,” said Shari Williams, executive director of the Vernon K. Krieble Foundation that generated and promotes The Red Card Solution.
Gingrich raised eyebrows among his conservative base when he publicly embraced The Red Card Solution. It strays from the deportation philosophy and welcomes foreigners, albeit temporarily.
“The Krieble Foundation is a very good red card program that says you get to be legal, but you don’t get a pass to citizenship,” Gingrich said. “And so there’s a way to ultimately end up with a country where there’s no more illegality, but you haven’t automatically given amnesty to anyone.”
The plan proposes a microchip-equipped card as the key to employment in the U.S. for foreign workers. Employment agencies in other countries would act as the conduit between American businesses looking to fill positions and aspiring guest workers desiring employment in this country.
As part of the credentialing process to receive a card, background checks would be coordinated with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to assure the visiting foreigners are not a threat.
The cards would serve as a tool to check workers’ status in the country and verify their identities. The cards would be valid only for the duration of employment. When a job ends, so does permission to remain in the country. Guest workers would be required to return to their native lands.
The concept began with the foundation’s president, Helen Krieble, whose late husband is the foundation’s namesake. She operated an equestrian center near Parker, south of Denver, that relied on immigrant labor.
“It really came out of the fact that she’s an employer who wants to meet the rule of law,” Williams said.
The complexity of navigating work visas and other aspects of immigration law struck Helen Krieble as overly burdensome for employers and workers alike. She sought a simple fix, and Williams said she found it in The Red Card Solution.
Krieble toted the concept around in her own head for half a decade, then five years ago the foundation — which promotes ideas, not legislation — published a paper unveiling the plan.
Modest attention followed until the past couple of years, when polls started showing growing support for guest worker programs. Then Gingrich’s take on the plan catapulted it into the national spotlight.
Inquiries from organizations that closely follow the immigration debate and lawmakers nationwide are flooding the foundation.
“I know for certain it’s gaining traction nationally,” Williams said
This article was posted on The Pueblo Chieftan.