NM Gov. Susana Martinez: Mitt should listen to this lady. But he won’t, so Dems shouldby David Pinar on May. 15, 2012, under Pol. & Govt., Uncategorized
Andrew Romano at The Daily Beast has an excellent article on his interview with New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez. He makes the argument that Mitt Romney would be wise to select her as his V.P. running mate, noting that Romney trails President Obama by as many as 56 percentage points among Latinos and by 20 points among women. But then he acknowledges the obvious – after John McCain’s disastrous pick of Sarah Palin in 2008, Romney is not going to take the risk of selecting another female first term Governor of a state not well known to the rest of the country. And Governor Martinez says her answer to a call from Romney would be “Absolutely No”, saying – “I need to finish this job. I have to deliver the results I promised, because as the first Hispanic female governor, I’m going to pave a path of some kind. I want it to be one that little Hispanic girls will want to follow.”
Governor Martinez says there is “no doubt” that Hispanics have been “alienated” during the Republican Presidential Primary campaign with the hard right rhetoric that summed up the Republican approach to solving illegal immigration. Martinez scoffs at the Romney proposal of self deportation: “‘Self-deport?’ What the heck does that mean?” Well Governor, it’s the idea behind recent anti-immigrant laws in Arizona and Alabama: that if you make life miserable enough through harassment and intimidation they’ll just leave on their own. There’s just one little flaw – life in the U.S. with harassment & intimidation still isn’t nearly as miserable as life in Mexico, Guatemala or Honduras. And there’s the little side effect of making life miserable for American Citizens just because their Hispanic heritage makes them resemble someone who might be an illegal. Actually you don’t even need to be Hispanic. I live Cochise County and have gone through the Border Patrol checkpoint on Hwy 191 dozens of times. A white haired 60 year old guy of English & Irish ancestry, I’m always waved through. The one time I was stopped was when I had a friend visiting from Hawaii with me in the car. They demanded his ID and that he declare his citizenship. He’s of Chinese & Hawaiian ancestry, I guess he looked close enough to Hispanic be suspicious.
Martinez, who was a Democrat but changed to Republican several years ago, has some advice for Mr. Romney- run to the left of Obama by proposing his own comprehensive plan:
“Republicans want to be tough and say, ‘Illegals, you’re gone.’ But the answer is a lot more complex than that.” Martinez envisions an approach “with multiple levels”: increased border security; deportation for criminals; a guest-worker program for people who want “to go freely back and forth across the border to work”; a DREAM Act-style pathway to citizenship, through the military or college, for children brought here illegally by their parents; and a visa (coupled with a “penalty” or a “tagback”) that allows rest of the illegal population to remain in the U.S. while they follow standard naturalization procedures.
Fat chance, Governor. Romney spent alot of time convincing Republican voters that he is “severely conservative” – even the biggest Etch-a-Sketch won’t let him flip-flop to that kind of intelligent approach to illegal immigration. But it is an intelligent approach that Democrats should make the centerpiece of their position on immigration. We absolutely can and must do more to secure the border. It’s an issue of safety and security, and any reform on immigration is meaningless if we can’t prevent further illegal immigration. Secondly, it’s way past time for us to implement a guest worker program. It’s an obvious fact that agriculture and some other industries need a lot low paid, low skilled workers, and most Americans won’t do the work. Create a guest worker program that they apply for in their country, allow them live and work legally on the US for a fixed period of 6 months to 1 year, and let them cross the border legally to work. Without thousands of people trying to cross the border illegally to go pick lettuce, the Border Patrol will have a lot of freed up resources to focus on drug smugglers and other dangerous criminals. Many illegals were carried across the border in a parent’s arms or were small children doing only what their parents told them to do. They grew up in America and know little of the country of their parents. We need to give them a chance to earn the American DREAM, and let them prove themselves in college or the military and earn the right to say ” I’m an American”.
And yes, illegal is illegal, and criminal activity should not be rewarded. But there is also a time to be reasonable, practical and fair. There are some pretty wild estimates in the number of people living illegally in the US, I’ll go with the PEW Research estimate of around 11 million. They’re not going to leave on their own, many have lived here for 10, 15 & 20 years and now have many family members here. And there is simply no way in hell we’re ever going to deport 11 million people. Frankly, I have always laughed at that idea. Have anyone who advocates “send them all home!” ever seriously thought about what would be involved in rounding up 11 million people, placing them in internment camps, and then transporting them to their home country? The last time we tried to round up an ethnic group of people it was only around 120,000. It was called “Executive Order 9066″. It was issued after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, when the US shamefully gave into the hysteria that Americans of Japanese ancestry couldn’t be trusted and needed to removed from general society. It wasn’t pretty, it looked like this:
Does anyone really want to see this magnified a thousand times? And when you try to round up and remove one ethnic group from society, you tend to get some unpleasant side effects. Like this:
No, we will not go there ever again. As Governor Martinez proposes, we need to face reality and come up with a visa system coupled with a “penalty” that allows rest of the illegal population to remain in the U.S. while they follow standard naturalization procedures.
Susana Martinez is a rarity among today’s Republicans – she’s actually sane, and intelligent. I wish her good luck in convincing Mitt Romney and Republicans to see the light. But I suspect it will take a President Obama and a Democratic Congress that will bring this to pass.