Did Numbers USA Get Huckstered?

The Huckster Takes NumbersUSA Pledge. Too Bad For NumbersUSA.

Marcus Epstein

With every Republican candidate scrambling to position themselves as genuine patriotic immigration reformers, Mike Huckabee was given a great boost when he signed NumbersUSA’s “No Amnesty” Pledge. NumbersUSA President and CEO, Roy Beck went down in person to South Carolina to appear at a signing ceremony with Huckabee. Beck told supporters that

“Every candidate claims to oppose amnesty, but few define amnesty the way most Americans do. I applaud Gov. Huckabee for defining amnesty correctly, and for pledging to fully enforce laws that would take away the jobs and benefits magnets that draw illegal aliens here – and that keep them here” [Huckabee Has Someone Else Do the Knocking, By Joy Lin, CBS News, January 16, 2008]

Beck has insisted this is not an endorsement or even a quasi-endorsement, and technically this is true. NumbersUSA has invited all candidates of both parties to sign the pledge, and Beck said he would show up at a signing ceremony for all of them. Indeed, NumbersUSA currently ranks Mitt Romney above Huckabee. (See the NumbersUSA Presidential Grid here, with candidates ranked).

But even though this was not an endorsement, NumbersUSA and other patriotic immigration reformers should not do anything that could give cover for Open Borders politicians.

I have an enormous amount of respect for Beck and NumbersUSA. II have praised it and recommended it to patriots for years. More than any other organization, I think it deserves credit for stopping amnesty in 2006 and 2007. Yet it is precisely because of its effectiveness that I am worried that it is lending its good name and credibility to charlatans like Huckabee.

It would be futile to document just how bad Huckabee’s record on immigration is, but to give a few highlights:
bullet He happily told a crowd of Hispanic radicals at LULAC, “Pretty soon, Southern white guys like me may be in the minority”

* He called a law that would deny welfare to illegal aliens “un-Christian, un-American, irresponsible and anti-life” He also characterized it as ‘inflammatory … race-baiting … demagoguery” and said the bill ‘inflames those who are racist and bigots and makes them think there’s a real problem. But there’s not.’”

* As governor, he granted in state tuition to illegal aliens, and went to Mexico to urge the government to set up a Mexican Consulate at state offices which he rented to them for $1 a year.

* In the immigration section of his 2007 book From Hope to Higher Ground, Huckabee called for a “pathway towards legal status and citizenship.” He said that passions against illegal immigration were “sparked by the unholy spirit of racism” and concluded his section by comparing those who insist that we must “follow the law” to Dred Scott and restrictions on black suffrage, and said the “True American spirit cries out ‘Change the Law’”

Roy Beck acknowledged that Huckabee has a less than stellar record on immigration. But, he said, “We simply rate the quality of each candidate’s most current campaign promises with an eye to how public and official those promises are”. He takes the position that it is up to the voters to determine whether they trust the candidate’s promises.

On the surface, this seems reasonable. Now that Duncan Hunter and Tom Tancredo have dropped out, there is no candidate who has anything close to a perfect record on immigration.

Following Tancredo’s withdrawal from the race, I wrote that

“Regardless of who gets the Republican nomination and how serious they are about real immigration reform, Tancredo has forced them to at least give serious lip-service to our cause. It is now up to Americans to make sure they put their money where their mouths are.

This is what the No Amnesty Pledge is supposed to accomplish.

The pledge states:

“I pledge to oppose amnesty or any other special path to citizenship for the millions of foreign nationals unlawfully present in the United States. As President, I will fully implement enforcement measures that, over time, will lead to the attrition of our illegal immigrant population. I also pledge to make security of our borders a top priority of my administration.”

Beck explained that Huckabee understood that this pledge also meant that:

1. The 12 million illegal aliens now here will have to go home.

2. They will not get any legal status while here that allows them to remain long-term.

3. Once in their home countries, they may apply for re-admittance to the U.S. as immigrants, visitors or temporary workers through normal channels.

4. But they will not receive any special privileges on the basis of their having been in the U.S. illegally, such as being put to the front of a line.

5. There will be no new categories or programs through which they may re-enter.

6. There will not be an expansion of green cards in any existing categories that will speed up their movement to the front of the line.

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