November 3, 2007

State Legislator on Huckabee and Immigration

Former Arkansas state legislator, Doug Matayo, wrote this insightful post on the Roebuck Report on Huckabee's work to fight illegal immigrants from getting drivers licenses:

Mike Huckabee: Protecting the integrity of state documents
By Doug Matayo

Act 2210 of 2005 was signed into law by Governor Huckabee. The legislation made it illegal for a driver’s license to be issued to anyone who could not prove legal residency in Arkansas.

Over two years before the controversy swirling over New York Governor Spitzer’s desire to allow illegal aliens to receive state documentation in the form of a state issued driver’s license, as Mike Huckabee’s floor leader, I sponsored and we passed legislation to stop illegals from getting licenses. Huckabee signed it into law.

Huckabee recognized this issue is about INTEGRITY. The integrity of the state to issue documents that are authentic and to avoid fraudulent attempts for people to receive state benefits they are not entitled too. Also this will cut down on voter fraud since a license cannot be issued to a non-resident (and state issued ID is typically produced at the polls to verify identity). But some of Huckabee’s detractors are still not happy with Huckabee’s immigration stances.

In a Wall Street Journal article, a former Republican legislator – Randy Minton – stated Huckabee was for amnesty, sanctuary cities and open borders. Apparently, Mr. Minton wasn’t paying attention when Matayo and Huckabee moved Act 2210 forward to keep all non-legal residents of Arkansas from getting state issued identification. Apparently, Mr. Minton didn’t read the papers when Huckabee signed into law legislation which allowed state troopers to partner with the Department of Homeland Security to arrest illegal immigrants and enforce federal immigration law. Obviously, Mr. Minton isn’t letting these facts get in the way of his continual personal and vitriolic attacks on Mr. Huckabee.

Now the immigration “hawks” do have Huckabee on one issue. Huckabee sponsored a state version of the federal “Dream Act” which was just recently defeated in the U.S. Senate. This bill did not pass through the state senate and is not law.

On this issue Huckabee has two options. One, continue to explain it in painful detail and try (in vain) to convince “Joe Six-pack” it is an issue of fairness. Or, he can do a “Mea Culpa," apologize and move on and say it’s not something he will push as president. Politically, the second option is the best. Why move forward with a momentum stopper issue like this one?

My counsel to my governor is to run strong on the positive accomplishments of his administration and say a sincere apology on the items that didn’t work out. The American people are willing to overlook the occasional misstep and are looking toward leadership where a leader isn’t afraid to say, “I’m sorry… I missed it… but I’ll work hard to do it right next time.”
What I appreciate about this letter from Mr. Matayo is that it is not a one-sided representation, but instead shows the consistency of Governor Huckabee's opposition to open borders, amnesty, and sanctuary cities -- but with a conviction that you do not punish children for the sins of their parents.

It goes perfectly in step with what Governor Huckabee said in a recent interview with MSNBC:
MSNBC: Let's talk a little bit about your record as governor. You were, as governor, a supporter of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and were a supporter of the notion of high school students whose parents might have brought them over illegally at least being eligible for college scholarships. And now you're talking about sealing the border. What has changed?

Huckabee: Well, I never talked about opening the door for people who were illegal. The only thing that I ever talked about were the children of anyone, and I never made a distinction as to what their status was. The point was you don't punish the child for a crime of a parent. I have supported enforcing the laws on adults who broke the immigration laws. I believe in a secure border. I believe that we shouldn't have amnesty, and I don't believe in sanctuary cities.

MSNBC: No path to citizenship?

Huckabee: Well, if the path is one that takes the same path that others have taken to become citizens who came here legally. I have not advocated that you have sort of a special express lane for people who've broken the law while others are standing in line for seven to 12 years waiting to get in. What I did advocate -- and it makes a lot of conservatives mad, I'll be honest with you -- some of them have abandoned me over it and that's fine I understand that. But my position was and remains that you do not punish a child for the crime of the parent. If a child is in the back seat of a car when a father drives drunk, it's perfectly appropriate to put the father in the drunk tank, but you don't put the child in the drunk tank. If a child was brought here when he or she was five years old and has gone through our entire education system and has worked hard, learned and made straight A's, and has qualified for an Academic Challenge scholarship, which was a very specific program in the state, and that student has qualified to be able to earn that scholarship, I'd rather that student go to college and become a taxpayer, not simply take some low-end hourly wage job and ultimately be a tax-taker.

Now part of the provision of the legislation -- by the way, it never passed because there was a lot of uproar over it -- but part of the provision was that person had to be in the process of applying for citizenship. So it was not that you get a free ride, It was that the very thing that we would hope for... two things: one, that people are self-sufficient and not dependent upon the government. And No. 2, that they become legal. Those were the two requirements within that bill. I still think that makes a lot more sense than saying to somebody who is a straight-A student who might be smart enough to go to MIT, and graduate school eventually, and find a cure for cancer, to say no we want you to pick lettuce instead.

MSNBC: Do you think the illegal immigrants should be allowed to get some kind of a driver's license?

Huckabee: No, I don't. I think that's a big mistake because if a driver's license is also the basis of being able to vote, the next thing you have would be illegal people voting. Voting is a precious right of a citizen. It is absolutely not the privilege that should be extended to somebody who is not a citizen of this country, period.

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