Q&A Friday #80: Huckabee’s Plan & Gilchrist’s Endorsement

Question (Via Email): “If you’re looking for an interesting topic to write about, I hope you will consider: why did Gilchrist endorse Huckabee?

I think Huckabee’s new immigration plan is disingenuous. It referred to the INS for Pete’s sake. Also, I have heard, but not verified, that it contains Pence’s touchback plan, which is basically amnesty.

Why did Jim Gilchrist, a founding Minuteman, fall for this?


Answer: #1) Does Huckabee’s immigration plan contain Mike Pence’s touchback clause? I’ve seen this around in a number of places, but it’s not true.

The idea behind Pence’s touchback plan was that the illegals would go back home for a vacation, fill out some paperwork in a privately run center in their home country, and then they would immediately be allowed to legally come back into the United States to work for the same employers they worked for previously. In other words, it was a gimmicky amnesty plan with a figleaf over it.

Now, here’s the part of Huckabee’s plan that people are mistaking for Pence’s plan,

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.

So, as you can see, Huckabee is basically saying: either you leave or you won’t be allowed to come back for any reason during the next 10 years, not leave and immediately come back.

All in all, Huckabee’s plan isn’t perfect, but it’s very good. You can see a review of it that I did, here.

As to why Gilchrist chose to endorse him, out of the top tier, McCain and Giuliani are still promising security first and then amnesty. That would eliminate them. Mitt and Huckabee both have horrible records on illegal immigration, but are promising security and no amnesty. Fred might have been the best top tier choice because he has a mixed record on immigration and is promising security and no amnesty. On the other hand, Gilchrist could have endorsed Tancredo or Hunter, both of whom have stellar records on illegal immigration, but aren’t doing so well in the polls.

It’s hard to know for sure exactly what Gilchrist’s motivation was, but it reminded me of Pat Robertson’s Rudy endorsement. In other words, my guess is that he thought something like, “Hmm, this guy has a really good shot to win and even though he might not seem like the ideal candidate for me to endorse, I want to endorse a winner.”

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