Jon Huntsman is leaving the GOP primary race, but it’s worth noting that his absence will leave a void for those in the GOP who wanted more moderation and nuance on the immigration issue. Contrast some of Huntsman’s statements with those of Mitt Romney who continues to move to the right on immigration. This week Mitt Romney received the endorsement of Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, who has promoted many of the state anti-immigration laws.
Here are a few of Huntsman’s statements on immigration:
“I believe that young kids when they’re dragged here to the United States have no say over their journey. They have no say over their destiny,” he said at an event at the Salem Chamber of Commerce. “And we either have a two-tiered bifurcated system or we allow, somehow, people to achieve the American dream.”
“I hate the thought of a fence on the border. As an American, the thought of a fence to some extent repulses me, because it is not consistent with the image that we projected to the rest of the world. But the situation is such today that I don’t think we have a choice, and before we begin the conversation of processing 11 or 12 million undocumented workers, we’ve got to secure the border. There’s got to be an alternative rather than sending people back. That’s unrealistic.”
“Yes, they came here in an illegal fashion. And yes, they should be punished in some form or fashion. We can find a solution. If President Reagan were here, he would speak to the American people and he would lay out in hopeful, optimistic terms how we can get there, remembering full well that we’re dealing with human beings here. We have to agree. But let me just say one thing about legal immigration. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that our legal immigration system is broken. And if we want to do something about attracting brain power to this country, we need to focus as much on legal immigration.”
What are your thoughts? Do you think that the remaining GOP candidates will regret having taken more extreme positions on immigration?