The Debate and the Immigration Debate, or Lack Thereof

4543441925_0b8fa32cb5_o_dHigher ups in the Republican party establishment wondering why Donald Trump’s initial remarks about immigration propelled him, at least for a time, to the top of the polls, should consider the nature of the “debate” questions about immigration the moderators offered in the Fox News Debate.

In the “Undercard” debate featuring the seven candidates who did not make the top ten cutoff in pre-debate polling, only one question from the moderators was about immigration (though the candidates themselves, who are all underdogs, were in some cases much more eager to talk about the issue). But, rather than a question examining any part of how immigration, both legal and illegal, impacts the American nation, the moderators asked a question straight of out the playbook of an open border group like Casa de Maryland. What would you say, the moderator asked Senator Rick Santorum, to a child born and raised in America, who could see “their family broken apart by your policy?” Why would a Republican primary debate feature a question that is regularly sprung on Republican candidates by amnesty activists? The very question is an attempt to make any sort of immigration taboo by evoking sympathy for children.

A question from a debate moderator actually trying to uncover whether the candidate had given real thought to the issues regarding immigration enforcement when it comes to the parents of minors who have been granted American citizenship through birth in the United States would look very different. For instance: “What responsibility do parents who knowingly violate U.S. immigration laws bear when enforcement of those laws has repercussions on their children?” Does this mean we should rethink our policy of automatically granting citizenship on the children of those born on this country’s soil, even if both parents are illegal aliens or tourists? Is there any way to handle this problem other than granting residency rights to any illegal alien who has a child while in this country?”

The main debate, though not as slanted solely towards the concerns of amnesty activists, also failed to ask any serious questions about immigration that the American public should be grappling with, such as: “How many immigrants does our nation have the capability to absorb without detriment to American citizens? Is there a limit and have we reached it?” Or, “If we give amnesty to illegal aliens who have already broken the law to get here, is there any evidence that that would not encourage more illegal immigration in the future, as it seemed to after 1986?” Rather, the questions seemed designed to help the most pro-amnesty candidates seem concerned about “border security”—lip service that is nearly always paid by politicians bent on legalizing illegal aliens.

The political establishment has, at best, avoided dealing with American citizens’ concerns over decades of out of control immigration and, at worst, mischaracterizing the motives for their concerns. But refusing to recognize people’s valid concerns does not make those concerns go away. The GOP establishment needs to take the fact that Donald Trump has struck a chord with many of their voters as a wake-up call. And they need to realize that even if Trump fades in the polls after the debate, their voters’ concerns over immigration are simply not going to go away.

Tune in to FAIR’s Legislative Update next Tuesday for FAIR’s analysis of the candidate’s answers on immigration…

Additional Read: How Immigration is Shaping Up as a 2016 Campaign Issue


  1. Its Like the Gumball Video on Numbersusa

    Billions of immigrants want in to America and this country was full at 200M back in 1970; how can we let ‘em all in and why would we want to?

  2. avatar Leland says:

    Good points. Yeah, the Statue of Liberty was not a monument to immigration. The “give me your tired your poor” lines were a poem by Emma Lazarus and were placed on a plague at the base in 1903, some 20 years after the dedication. The statue was a gift from the French to recognize that our revolution inspired their overthrow of their monarchy. Plus we did not reach 100 million people until 1915.

    I always hate that “when your grandparents came here” logic. My paternal great grandparents were immigrants and they scratched out a living on a midwest farm and raised 8 children by their own wits. He died at the age of 73 and in the pictures I have seen he looked 90 at the end. It’s an insult to them to compare them to people who come here illegally and then have 4 and 5 kids and hand the bill to the taxpayers for housing, food and medical care.

    Also we are hardly the only “immigrant country” in this hemisphere. Sanchez and Enriquez are not Indian names. Just because they are too corrupt to get it together doesn’t mean we have to bear their burdens. The first thing they need to do is stop listening to the Catholic church on birth control.

    • avatar SecBorders says:

      Our country was made great and built by people like your paternal great grandparents, and not by people like the illegal aliens who trot across our border, break our laws and then cash in on all the free benefits.

  3. avatar SecBorders says:

    And not one question at the debate about the currently very high levels of legal immigration which will increase our population by a huge amount over the coming decades and affect every aspect of American life in a way that no other issue can. To all the people who say we can’t reduce the levels of legal immigration because we are a “nation of immigrants”, most American citizens were born in the US, so we are not a nation of immigrants, we are a nation of people descended from people who immigrated here when the colonies or our country had a much smaller population than it does now.

    Our population is now over 300 million people. It makes sense that now we should have a lower level of immigration than when our population was 100 million. Who thinks its great to live packed together like sardines living in an ant hill, and to commute to work in traffic jams. As far as the Statue of Liberty goes, the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France as a symbol of Liberty! What country would be dumb enough to relinquish control of its borders and allow its population to increase to 400 million and higher as it is overrun be the worlds poor because people misinterpreted the original meaning of some statue. It is not logical to set immigration policy based on inaccurate slogans and statues whose meaning has been misinterpreted.