Confirmed: The Huckabee Immigration Plan Does Not Have A Touchback Provision In It

Earlier today, I hammered the Huckabee campaign for not getting back to me within 3 days time on an immigration question I had for them.

Well tonight, I received a pleasant call from the lovely and talented Charmaine Yoest, who works with the Huckabee campaign. She apologized for the campaign’s delay in getting back to me and answered all my questions.

First of all, definitively, as I thought, the Huckabee immigration plan DOES NOT contain any sort of touchback provision.

To the contrary, Huckabee’s policy on illegal immigration is as follows,

* Policies that promote or tolerate amnesty will be rejected.

* Propose to provide all illegal immigrants a 120-day window to register with the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services 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.

Some people have pointed to something Huckabee said on Fox News Sunday as evidence of a touchback plan,

WALLACE: Let’s turn to immigration, because you put out a new immigration plan this week. You called for building…

HUCKABEE: Yes.

WALLACE: … a border fence, for cracking down on employers, for telling illegals to go home.

But last year in an interview, you said something somewhat different. You said this, “I think that the rational approach is to find a way to give people a pathway to citizenship.”

Governor, in your new plan, the only path is to go home and to get on the back of the line, which, of course, would mean years of waiting. Why the change?

HUCKABEE: Well, I don’t think there’s an inconsistency. When I said a pathway, I didn’t say what the pathway was.

I now believe that the only thing the American people are going to accept — and, frankly, the only thing that really makes sense — is a pathway that sends people back to the starting point.

But this idea of the waiting years — no, I don’t agree with that. In fact, look, if we can get a credit card application done within hours, if we can get passports done within days, if we can transact business over the Internet any place in the world within seconds, do a background check instantaneously — it’s our government that has failed and is dysfunctional.

It shouldn’t take years to get a work permit to come here and pick lettuce. So part of the plan that I have is that we seal the borders. You don’t have amnesty and sanctuary cities. You do have a pathway that gets you back home.

But that pathway to get back here legally doesn’t take years. It would take days, maybe weeks, and then people could come back in the workforce.

What Charmaine said — and incidentally, this is what I thought he meant in the first place — was that Huckabee was moving on from talking about amnesty into talking about how his plan will deal with speeding up the legal immigration process. That’s the last part of the 9th plank of his plan,

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.

Also, she said that claims that Minuteman founder Jim Gilchrist is considering withdrawing his endorsement are not true. To the contrary, she said Gilchrist will be campaigning with them in Iowa.

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