by John Hawkins | May 19, 2006 7:40 pm
This afternoon, I did an exclusive mini-interview with Congressman Jack Kingston on illegal immigration. What you’ll see below is an edited, partial transcript of our conversation. Enjoy!
John Hawkins: Do you think the House approach to illegal immigration is better or is the Senate’s comprehensive approach better? I think that some conservatives are worried that if we don’t do the House approach, which is security, interior and border, first, we’ll get the amnesty but we won’t get the security.
Jack Kingston: …(We’ve) already passed the House bill and I support it, but…what I don’t want to do is let the Senate off the hook by saying, “We can only do this partial loaf.” I would like them to…pass the House bill, but I also think we gotta charge back down the court and get on the scoreboard again.
You saw yesterday that they’re really not serious yet, when they passed a bill making English the official language and then passed another bill saying, “We didn’t mean it.”
John Hawkins: Related to that, do you think illegal aliens should (get credit) for money they paid into Social Security while they were illegal…?
Jack Kingston: If you’re illegal, you shouldn’t be here and you shouldn’t be entitled to benefits for being here….The more attractive you make it for people to be here, the more they’re going to come. So, you don’t want to pay benefits. If they pay into Social Security and they don’t get any out of it because they’re illegal, I’d say that’s good money for the system…You know, they’re here illegally and I just don’t think that people who are here illegally should have the same rights and privileges as people who waited in line to become a citizen.
John Hawkins: Let me ask you another question. This is something that has come up recently. If our laws remain unchanged, we would be on pace to add about 19 million legal immigrants to this country in the next 20 years. Over at the Heritage Foundation, they’re estimating that the Senate bill as written would up that number to 66 million. Senator Jeff Sessions’ staff told me yesterday that their numbers put it at about 73-93 million over the next 20 years. While we have almost universal agreement that legal immigration is good for America, do you think upping the number of legal immigrants that much is a good idea or do you think it would be better to stay at the level we’re currently at?
Jack Kingston: …I think holding down the number is more appropriate at this time because of the large influx of illegals we’re having to deal with and offset.
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John Hawkins: Do you think the bill that’s in the Senate, right now, as is, is good for America?
Jack Kingston: The legislation that seems to be most identified (with what the Senate is doing) — that does allow amnesty — and I would say that is not a good approach.
…You haven’t asked me about it, but we need to end birthright citizenship. Birthright citizenship is ridiculous. Right now, if you’re flying over America in an airplane, regardless of the origin of the plane, the destination, or the flag, you become an American citizen. I’m a co-sponsor of Nathan Deal’s Bill that ends birthright citizenship.
John Hawkins: Let me ask you one more question. You may not be able to answer, but give it your best shot. What do you think is going to happen if and when we get a bad Senate bill through and it goes into committee with the House Bill?
Jack Kingston: The House will kill it.
John Hawkins: You think so? You don’t think the House would let something that conservatives would be really upset with get through?
Jack Kingston: I don’t think so. I think there is a lot of division in the House, but I think we would kill it. …We don’t want perfection to be the enemy of progress here because we didn’t get into this situation overnight and we won’t get out of it overnight….
John Hawkins: So you don’t think amnesty will get through?
Jack Kingston: No, and I can tell you that there are about 180 House members (who’ve) drawn a pretty strong line in the sand on that.
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