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Has Ben Carson Blown It By Supporting Amnesty For Illegal Aliens?

Dr. Ben Carson speaks during Fox Business debate

 

In a post-debate news release Dr. Ben Carson’s performance in the Fox Business debate was hit and hit hard by our friends at the Club for Growth.

“Tonight's debate went a long way toward weeding out the pretenders in the GOP field,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “As the debate delved into tax reform specifics, real entitlement reform, and proposals for cutting federal spending by abolishing federal agencies, it became clear that Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson are in over their heads. Their talking points don't measure up to the detailed plans - backed by credible records - put forth by Senators Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Rand Paul."

And on one level we’d have to agree with David McIntosh – Dr. Carson was pretty shaky on the details on a number of economic issues and seemed to try to have it both ways on others.

But our concerns with the direction of Dr. Carson’s candidacy are more about what he’s said since the debate, rather than his superficial treatment of some of the economic issues raised at the debate.

At a Wednesday press conference after Dr. Carson delivered remarks at Liberty University, a reporter asked, “Can you explain your position on immigration? Are you in favor of encouraging people here to have a way to get — or in favor of supporting people here?”

We don’t see a coherent question in the media reports of the exchange, but clearly the reporter was looking for an answer on whether or not Dr. Carson supports a “path to citizenship” for illegal aliens.

And Carson obliged him with this answer reported by our friend Pam Key of Breitbart:

“Very easy question. I’m in favor of enforcing the laws that we have and in favor of securing our borders. All of our borders. This is not a difficult thing to do as was demonstrated in Yuma county Arizona where they stopped 97 percent of illegal immigration by putting up a double fence with asphalt road in between so there was quick access. Actually putting border guards on the border and prosecuting first time offenders rather than the catch and release program that we now have. That stopped. That’s without the addition of some of the unique surveillance equipment that we now have available to us. I think you can get pretty close to a hundred percent.

The other thing you have to do is you have to decrease the incentives for people to come here. They say what is the point. That gets rid of the influx but it doesn’t take care of the 11-plus million people that are still here.

I propose that we give them a six month period in which to register. If they don’t register, they’re criminals and treated as such. If they register in that six-month period and have a pristine record and they wish to be guest workers in this country they would have to pay a back tax penalty and have to continue to pay taxes going forward. They would no longer have to live in the shadow. That does not give them the right to vote. It does not make them U.S. citizens. If they want to become U.S. citizens, they have to go through the same thing anybody else wants to become a citizen, including leaving the country and apply from the outside unless the American people indicate they want a difference course than that.”

In other words, Dr. Carson would offer amnesty to any non-criminal illegal alien who registered during his proposed six month registration period.

How exactly that differs from the position of Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and other amnesty supporters is only in the details of how illegal aliens are granted permission to stay.

What’s more, Dr. Carson does not foreclose the possibility of a now-illegal alien gaining citizenship and the right to vote – he somewhat disingenuously says, “If they want to become U.S. citizens, they have to go through the same thing anybody else wants to become a citizen, including leaving the country and apply from the outside unless the American people indicate they want a difference course than that.”

According to Ms. Key’s report the reporter followed up asking, “What’s the economic harm, in your view, of having these 11 million people here now?”

Carson said, “When you look at farming industries, I’ve talked to farmers with multi-thousands acres farms and they say their business would collapse, I’ve talked to hotel owners and they say that they would have a very difficult time without them…”

Carson went on the say that allowing illegal alien workers to stay to work in industries where they are allegedly needed is a “win-win situation.”

In our view it might be a “win” for the illegal aliens, and it is certainly a “win” for businesses looking for cheap labor, but it is certainly not a “win” for American workers and their families.

As Breitbart’s Caroline May documented back in February of this year, in the months and years since the recession began in December 2007, foreign-born workers have experienced a net increase in employment, while native-born Americans have experienced a net loss.

BLS figures released at that time revealed that since the start of the recession in 2007 — which is said to have ended in June 2009 — the number of foreign workers employed in the United States rose by 1.7 million. Those figures mirror figures in a Washington Examiner expose of a year earlier, by-the-way.

In December 2007 the number of foreign-born workers was 22,810,000 by January 2009 the number has increased to 24,553,000.

Meanwhile the number of American-born workers employed decreased by 1.5 million, from 123,524,000 to 121,999,000.

And as Senator Jeff Sessions highlighted for May, in addition to the annual flow of over 1.7 million permanent legal immigrants and nonimmigrant workers, as the Center for Immigration Studies recently exposed, since 2009 the administration has also provided another 5.5 million immigrants with employment authorization documents (EAD).

In the face of this vast inflation of the American labor force economists and economic commentators still seem puzzled that wages for American workers have been flat for a decade, but it is no mystery to us.

Wages are stagnating because the American market for labor has been inflated with millions of foreign-born workers, including 10 to 20 million illegal aliens.

Why Ben Carson would want to make this vast inflation of the labor pool permanent and legal is beyond comprehension, but as Dr. Carson’s remarks about granting amnesty to illegal aliens get more publicity we predict that they will hurt his presidential campaign much more than his lack of detail on economic issues during the debate ever could.

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I dispute your characterization

The concept of amnesty has been so abused that the word ALWAYS requires explanation and qualification. Your "hit piece" did not even attempt to address this basic element of honest reporting. Dr. Carson was explaining HIS idea for a workable process. You reject the possibility that his process might work and be acceptable by lumping it in with other versions of "amnesty" and end up producing a straw man argument. If YOU can't see that, how many other people will miss the point. You can't have it both ways. I expect more from honest conservative editors.

Amnesty is amnesty

Sorry - using legislative fiat to absolve millions of criminals who are res ipsa loquitur guilty of the crime of illegal border crossing is amnesty.

If it isn't amnesty, what exactly would you call passing a law saying the government will not try or punish a lawbreaker who has committed the crime of illegal border crossing and, on top of that, allowing that lawbreaker to profit from his crime by staying in this country legally?

We don't "reject the possibility that his process might work." We are quite sure it will work exactly as planned. It will keep millions of now-illegal aliens in this country legally to depress wages; which is exactly how those in the construction, ag and hotel industries who wish to employee cheap labor want it to work.

Take a look at our coverage as a whole and you'll see we like Ben Carson and have been more than fair. We think he's wrong on this one, but reserving the right to give it rigorous intellectual and legal analysis, we would certainly be happy to publish an explanation of how his plan isn't amnesty.