The Spectacle Blog

Pence on Immigration

By on 9.19.06 | 12:57PM

Pence also had some interesting things to say on immigration. I've written multiple times in the past about how smart his own immigration proposal is, and intelligent folks like Newt Gingrich and our friend David Keene of the American Conservative Union agree; some other conservatives (especially at NRO) have reacted as if Pence had committed some apostasy. Before we get to what Pence said today, a reminder is in order: the Pence plan incorporates almost the entirety of the House "get tough on the border" bill and then adds a free-market, no-amnesty provision by which wannabe guest workers must first leave the country, and then can return but only through an employment center, for a specified job, with a biometric ID card, after passing a security check, under strict conditions -- and those employment centers would be run by competitive private enterprise, not the government. Still, the good folks at NRO have seemed to miss some crucially important parts of Pence's proposal (this is all Quin's summary so far, not Pence's), so it was good to hear Pence emphasize them in this morning's event sponsored by TAS.

First, it cannot be stressed often enough: Pence would first incorporate the House plan that builds a security fence and does plenty else to increase border security. Again: The Pence plan is "security first," and it includes all the things those other conservatives praise in the House bill that they all have endorsed.

Only AFTER the House plan has been implemented in its entirety, AND in place and certified effective for two full years, would the rest of the Pence proposal (the "leave the country first in order to return" guest worker program) kick in. Furthermore, those workers (even assuming they have kept their job for two years; if they don't, they must go back home) would continue to face growing requirements in order to stay. Chief among these, Pence stressed today, is that after two years they MUST show a proficiency in English in order to remain our guest.

So, to repeat: Two years of border security first (and continuing border security forever), followed by a free-market, enforceable, strict, biometrically ID'd guest worker program afterwards. It's a really good plan. And (here is me editorializing again) it's a brilliant solution for the long haul, both in terms of practicality and in terms of good politics.

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