In another sign that unrestricted immigration is destroying the process of assimilation while simultaneously balkanizing the United States, most of the 2008 Republican presidential candidates took part in a debate in Spanish on Univision this evening.
The only candidate to apparently understand that such a debate fractures society, Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-Colo.) chose not to attend. He said the following:
"It is the law that to become a naturalized citizen of this country you must have knowledge and understanding of English, including a basic ability to read, write, and speak the language. So what may I ask are our presidential candidates doing participating in a Spanish speaking debate? America has been a melting pot of people from all over the world but it can not survive as a nation if our immigrants do not assimilate. A common language is essential to that goal. Bilingualism is a great asset for any individual, but it has perilous consequences for a nation. As such, a Spanish debate has no place in a presidential campaign."
I would add that because debates are designed to entice voting, and because voting can be done only by U.S. citizens, and because citizenship requires a basic understanding of English, foreign-language debates are useful only to attract unauthorized voters to the voting booth. So in addition to the balkanization, such debates are destroying the meaning of citizenship and harming our elections.
Months ago, none of the candidates signaled any desire to attend, save illegal immigration cheerleader John McCain. But in the last month, the rest of the Republican contenders turned an about-face and decided that having their voices translated into Spanish would be fun.
Compared to the Democrat Univision debate, less time was spent on the immigration issue. Here, only 45 minutes were devoted to the subject compared to over an hour for the Dems. Despite this debate's shortcomings, it is wonderful to see a good amount of time devoted to the subject of immigration. Perhaps after the candidates are filtered down to only a few remaining contenders, MSNBC/CNN/FOX can hold issue-specific debates; an hour or two on immigration and border security would be fantastic. And, it would ensure that no open-border candidate is elected in 2008. Recall that the Bush/Kerry debates included only ONE question on the subject even though the moderator prefaced the question with, "I received more e-mails on this subject than any other." But of course, the subject was barely addressed and we never got a good read on their immigration policies. We all know how that has turned out.
During the Univision introduction, the biggest applauses went to Giuliani, McCain, and Paul. This is probably due to the fact that Giuliani and McCain are honorary Mexican presidents. Paul probably had dozens of his loudest and loyal supporters stand in line for hours in order to get into the theater.
Below are some limited and roughly-translated highlights. I turned up my television as loud as possible and listened to the faint English feed buried beneath the blaring Spanish translation. Although Univision put the English language version on SAP3, my old television prevented me from accessing it.
Some of the close, but not 100% accurate highlights:
Hunter: If we have another amnesty, we will have a new wave of immigration. We have two traditions: welcoming immigrants, and the rule of law. Immigrants that came illegally have to go home. (surprisingly, the audience applauded.) I built the double-border fence in southern California. It reduced crime. You need to talk to people directly. I got more folks from the Hispanic community to vote for me; they do agree with order. So come in, but follow the rules.
Romney: We're a very compassionate people...we're also a people who follow the law. The landscaper is an old friend...apparently he made a mistake. He doesn't have a way to determine who he is hiring whether he is legal or illegal. That's why we need an employment verification system so that we can determine who is eligible to work. (big applause.) We're going to finally have a program to have people here legally, not illegally. Those who are born here should become legal citizens. I don't think that chain migration polices are good; they say you can bring the whole family here; they're a mistake. We can end illegal immigration and protect legal immigration.
Thompson: Our courts have ruled that babies born here are U.S. citizens. It's the 14th Amendment, but our focus shouldn't be on that. I believe the concern should be on chain migration. I do not think that there should be endless chain migration.
McCain: When we failed to pass comprehensive reform, now we have cities and towns that are sanctuary cities or not... the message of our failure is that they want the borders secure first. We have very difficult issues, but once we seal the borders... but until we get the borders secure, they're not ready to address these issues.
Paul: (blamed America for Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro; audience booed loudly. This represents support for the United States' current policy over "blame America first" policy -- a fine distinction that one wouldn't expect a foreign audience to necessarily understand, much less boo. Likely, the audience was full of English-speaking, Federalist Society college kids.)
Stay tuned for more updates.
Additionally, the Univision website provides a biography of each of the Republican candidates. The highlights include:
McCain: "He is one of the candidates non-born in the United States. This candidate was born in Panama." [This fact is suspiciously difficult to find on McCain's website. His father was a naval officer stationed in Panama; McCain was born there in 1936, but is considered a U.S. citizen under the law.] "He recently made a 180 degree turn on his immigration proposal: first he spoke of a guestworker program and now he proposes strict regulations to end illegal immigration. McCain is a senator with a noticeable character, and a bad sense of humor, attacking several important personages of the world like: Chelsea, the president of North Korea, and fellow Republican, Sen. Chuck Grassley."
Hunter: "The Californian representative has reiterated his support to the double wall between the United States and Mexico and tries to become one of the strongest candidates in the electoral fight. In his campaign for the presidency, Hunter is declared an antiabortionist, who looks for a fairness of powers between the family, and also she has been described to be anti-immigrant."
Huckabee: "This candidate is in favor of the war against of the Muslim radicalismo, against legalizing the homosexual marriages, and for the hiring of legal migrants in great factories. This minister baptist, at this moment, also is against a proposal to deprive public services to illegal immigrants."
Tancredo: "one of the strongest adversaries of illegal immigration in the country... Faithful to his political position, Tancredo has denied rights to immigrants."