Mitt – think Mike is soft on immigration? Obviously you’re WRONG: Jim Gilchrist Endorses Mike Huckabee

LITTLE ROCK, AR – In Iowa today, former Arkansas Governor and Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee received a major endorsement from Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project.

Huckabee said he was honored to receive the endorsement. “No one can question Jim’s commitment to this country and the immigration problem. He has mobilized a group of volunteers to go to the border and draw attention to the issue of immigration. All of us want a policy where people come to this country through the front door, not the back door,” said Huckabee during a morning news conference.

Gilchrist added, “Governor Huckabee actually wrote a plan that I can embrace. I found his ‘Secure America’ plan would open the dialogue and help begin the process of solving the illegal immigration problem.”

Gilchrist, who founded the Minuteman Project in 2004, said he appreciated Huckabee’s plan to secure America ’s borders.

Last week, Huckabee unveiled “The Secure America Plan: A Nine-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security.” Huckabee said he believes in adopting the best policy ideas to provide a “tough, equitable and comprehensive approach” to dealing with the current immigration crisis.

Huckabee said his goal is to implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population.

A 30-second television ad, called “Secure Borders,” began airing in Iowa Monday to educate voters about Huckabee’s call for a new immigration strategy, which begins with securing America ‘s borders.

Here’s Mike Huckabee’s official announcement

Secure Borders: New commercial airing Monday 12/10

Huckabee Says He’d Seal Mexican Border

BLUFFTON, S.C. (AP) — Republican presidential contender Mike Huckabee says he’d seal the Mexican border, hire more agents to patrol it and make illegal immigrants go home before they could apply to return to this country.

“It’s tough, but I also think it’s fair, giving people 120 days to go back and then start the process all over,” the former Arkansas governor said Friday. “People will say, ‘Well, how will they go back?’ Well, they got here. They’ll figure out the same way they got here to go back.”

Read it here

Huckabee Immigration Plan Emphasizes Security

Here’s the security plan – below outlines some of the steps in more detail

Mike Huckabee released an immigration plan Friday that endorses a border fence and calls for tougher enforcement. By SARAH WHEATON Published: December 8, 2007

Mike Huckabee, the Republican presidential candidate, released a plan for tougher immigration enforcement and border security yesterday, pledging to complete a border fence between the United States and Mexico by July 2010 and ruling out a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants unless they returned first to their country of origin.

Mr. Huckabee has taken heat in recent weeks from his rivals for the Republican nomination, especially after his impassioned defense at a Nov. 28 debate of merit scholarships to children of illegal immigrants while he was governor of Arkansas. In that debate, he responded to attacks on his immigration record by saying, “We’re a better country than to punish children for what their parents did.”

In the proposal he released yesterday, Mr. Huckabee did not address whether he still supported such benefits for illegal immigrants. But in detailing his plan for stepped-up enforcement, he said immigrants who failed to register within 120 days and then leave the country would be deported and barred from re-entry for 10 years.

In addition to completing the fence and installing an “interlocking” camera surveillance system on the Mexican border, he said he would increase the number of Border Patrol agents. Employers who hire illegal immigrants would also be subject to penalties under his proposal.

Mr. Huckabee’s plan also includes an increase in the number of visas for “highly skilled and highly educated applicants.”

Rivals for the nomination said his proposal did not square with his record.

“Governor Huckabee is now forced to put out an immigration plan that contradicts everything he did as governor,” said Jeff Sadosky, a spokesman for Fred D. Thompson, the former Tennessee senator. “Credibility and experience matter; it’s a shame when you have neither on these important issues.” (The Thompson campaign should know best about that)

In Iowa, the Huckabee campaign has gained ground in recent weeks.

A Newsweek poll released yesterday showed Mr. Huckabee with a clear lead over Mitt Romney among voters who said they were likely to take part in the Jan. 3 caucuses in Iowa, 39 percent to 17 percent. Earlier polls had the race much tighter. The Newsweek poll put Mr. Thompson and Rudolph W. Giuliani at 10 percent and 9 percent, respectively.

Mr. Romney endured tough questioning from reporters in Des Moines yesterday about revelations last week that a yardwork company he employed was found for a second time to be using illegal immigrants.

Pressed on whether he should have been more vigilant, given his tough talk on immigration, he grew testy.

“Let’s say I go to a restaurant,” he said. “Should I make sure that all the waiters there are all legal? How would I do that?”

 

Huckabee on the issues: The Secure America Plan

Look at in conjunction with the Huckabee on the Issues: Immigration post right here

Immigration: The Secure America Plan

A 9-Point Strategy for Immigration Enforcement and Border Security

Overview: Implement a broad-based strategy that commits the resources of the federal government to the enforcement of our immigration laws and results in the attrition of the illegal immigrant population.

1. Build the Fence

  • Ensure that an interlocking surveillance camera system is installed along the border by July 1, 2010.
  • Ensure that the border fence construction is completed by July 1, 2010.

2. Increase Border Patrol

  • Increase the number of border patrol agents.
  • Fully support all law enforcement personnel tasked with enforcing immigration law.

3. Prevent Amnesty

  • Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.
  • Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Immigration and Naturalization Service and leave the country. Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future reentry for a period of 10 years.

4. Enforce the Law on Employers

  • Employment is the chief draw for most illegal immigrants and denying them jobs is the centerpiece of an attrition strategy.
  • Impose steep fines and penalties on employers that violate the law.
  • Institute a universal, mandatory citizenship verification system as part of the normal hiring process.
  • Prevent the IRS and the Social Security Administration from accepting fraudulent Social Security numbers or numbers that don’t match the employees’ names.*

5. Establish an Economic Border

  • Move toward passage of the FairTax.
  • The FairTax provides an extra layer of security by creating an economic disincentive to immigrate to the U.S. illegally.

6. Empower Local Authorities

  • Promote better cooperation on enforcement by supporting legislative measures such as the CLEAR Act, which aims to systematize the relationship between local law and federal immigration officials.
  • Encourage immigration-law training for police. Local authorities must be provided the tools, training, and funding they need so local police can turn illegal immigrants over to the federal authorities.

7. Ensure Document Security

  • End exemptions for Mexicans and Canadians to the US-VISIT program, which tracks the arrival and departure of foreign visitors. Since these countries account for the vast majority of foreigners coming here (85 percent), such a policy clearly violates Congress’ intent in mandating this check-in/check-out system.
  • Reject Mexico’s “matricula consular” card, which functions as an illegal-immigrant identification card.

8. Discourage Dual Citizenship

  • Inform foreign governments when their former citizens become naturalized U.S. citizens.
  • Impose civil and/or criminal penalties on American citizens who illegitimately use their dual status (e.g., using a foreign passport, voting in elections in both a foreign country and the U.S.).

9. Modernize the Process of Legal Immigration

  • Eliminate the visa lottery system and the admission category for adult brothers and sisters of U.S. citizens.
  • Increase visas for highly-skilled and highly-educated applicants.
  • Expedite processing for those who serve honorably in the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Improve our immigration process so that those patiently and responsibly seeking to come here legally will not have to wait decades to share in the American dream. Governor Huckabee has always been grateful to live in a country that people are trying to break into, rather than break out of.

*This policy will be drafted to comply with the final federal court decisions on this issue.

Note: This plan is partially modeled on a proposal by Mark Krikorian, Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies. (“Re: Immigration: Ten Points for a Successful Presidential Candidate,” National Review, May 23, 2005.)