While the roster of GOP presidential hopefuls has taken advantage of Gingrich’s proposals, none has been more tenacious in the attack than erstwhile media magnet, Michele Bachmann.
At an unexpected stop in South Florida Thursday, the one-time darling of the Tea Party continued her assault on Newt Gingrich on the issue of how to address the problem of illegal immigration.
Calling Gingrich an “influence peddler,” Bachmann touted her outsider status compared to that of career politician, Newt Gingrich.
Bachmann used the word “amnesty” when speaking of the plan proffered by the former Speaker of the House.
For his part, Gingrich rejects this characterization of his position, saying, instead, that he believes that if an illegal immigrant has worked for years in this country, raised a family, paid taxes, and kept his nose clean, then that person should be allowed to remain in the United States as a permanent resident.
Regardless of Gingrich’s denials of her interpretation of his scheme, Bachmann will not be dissuaded from her pursuit.
Earlier in the week, for example, on the Laura Ingraham radio program, Rep. Bachmann (R-Minn.) advocated the incremental deportation of 11 million illegal aliens.
The candidate’s policy announcement was made in reply to a question posed by Ingraham regarding Bachmann’s earlier statement drawing distinctions between illegals with years in the United States and strong bonds to this country with those who have recently entered without documents.
"What I'm talking about is the order of deportation, the sequence of deportation," Bachmann replied. "It is almost impossible to move 11 million illegal immigrants overnight. You do it in steps."
Apparently, as President, Michele Bachmann would push for legislation that would classify illegals according to the strength of their ties to the United States and begin deporting them in a “last in, first out” manner.
In what seems to be a preemptive strike against those who would call her plan heartless, while speaking to a group of Republicans gathered in a conference room in the Ft. Lauderdale Westin Hotel, Michele Bachmann described as "tough love" her proposal to distinguish then deport.
"I would make sure that our border security guards are fully resourced," said Bachmann.
A story published by a West Palm Beach NBC News affiliate sketched some of Bachmann’s other stances regarding the protection of the culture and border of the United States:
She wants a fence along the southern border with Mexico, English as the nation's official language, to deport all illegals, and to change the constitution to ban automatic citizenship for anyone born on American soil.
While the floating of such ideas by a candidate for the presidency is newsworthy, the prospect of a Michele Bachmann presidency is growing less and less likely everyday.
Adjectives like “struggling,” “flagging,” and “troubled” are appearing in stories chronicling the Congresswoman’s campaign. There was a time when Michele Bachmann was a top-tier candidate among the field of GOP contenders, but lately her fortunes have fallen precipitously.
In one of the latest polls conducted among likely Republican voters in Florida, Bachmann garners only 1 percent of the vote. The same poll taken in July measured her support in the Sunshine State at 15 percent.
Recent polls indicate that Newt Gingrich, once an afterthought considered no more than a vanity candidate, is pulling away from his colleagues. Three surveys released Wednesday and Thursday reveal Gingrich’s support among Florida Republicans to have swollen to between 40 percent to 50 percent.
Such data helps explain Michele Bachmann’s espousal of novel tactics for combatting the nearly unchecked influx of illegal aliens across the southern border of the United States.
Is Bachmann worried that her deportation plan will fail to resonate with Hispanic voters and will instead alienate that politically powerful community?
"My position won't alienate at all. In fact, it will bring Latino voters in," said Bachmann.
Bachmann has said she believes Latinos will vote for her as they come to recognize her as the candidate who offers them what they most desire: a chance to make the American dream come true.
While Bachmann’s Florida appearance failed to produce any concrete details of just how her deportation plan would be implemented, she did take a jab at Texas Governor Rick Perry, as well, for his state’s policy of permitting illegals to receive public benefits.
Bachmann assures voters that she will not extend any form of welfare to those illegally present in the United States.
"When we give the welfare state, then people won't be able to come out of it. It's the biggest trap that people can have," she said. Of all Michele Bachmann’s statements on the immigration issue, this last is likely the most well-considered. Unlike the deportation by degrees scheme, the plan to cut off benefits and thus reduce the flow of illegal immigrants is in no way novel. In fact, one of Bachmann’s fellow potential presidential candidates has made that point consistently for years.
In his book, Liberty Defined, Ron Paul made that very point in the chapter on Immigration. Congressman Paul lists the following points as “humble suggestions” for how to adequately address the illegal immigration problem:
Abolish the welfare state. The incentive to always take a job — at whatever wage available — must prevail. A healthy economy absent Federal Reserve-induced recession or depression and inflation will keep real wages high.
Stop all federal mandates on the states to provide free education and medical care for illegal immigrants. The absurdity that South Texas schools are overburdened with Mexican children going back and forth over the border each day to our public school system is resented by cash-strapped school districts.
These recommendations are a real and reasonable way to encourage many illegal immigrants to deport themselves. When access to free money is cut off, running the risk of deportation won’t seem nearly as attractive.
As it stands, Newt Gingrich has made his intent known: If elected President he will emulate his hero, Ronald Reagan, and push for some sort of amnesty for many of the nearly 12 million illegals currently unlawfully residing in the United States. It should be remembered that in a letter written in 2004, Gingrich praised George W. Bush for the guest worker program Bush supported.
In the letter from the National Foundation for American Policy, Gingrich and his co-signers recommended a “humane” way to reform America’s immigration policy.
President Bush has proposed a new legal path to work in the U.S. through a temporary worker program that will match willing workers with willing employers. We applaud the president and believe his approach holds great promise to reduce illegal immigration and establish a humane, orderly, and economically sensible approach to migration that will aid homeland security and free up border-security assets to focus on genuine threats. The president has shown courage by calling on Congress to place reality over rhetoric and recognize that those already working here outside the law are unlikely to leave. Congress can fulfill its role by establishing sufficient increases in legal immigration and paths to permanent residence to enable more workers to stay, assimilate, and become part of America.
As the first caucus in Iowa approaches, each of the candidates will be compelled to present their plans for plugging the porous southern border and for dealing with those men and women already living illegally in the United States.
Photo of Rep. Bachmann: AP Images