The EFM Feature

I’ve been reading some blogospheric discussion — primarily at the Campaign Standard and AmSpecBlog — about Governor Romney’s new Iowa ad on immigration. I haven’t commented on the ad yet because, as I’ve said before, immigration is not my issue. However, from where I sit, the conservative chattering class is missing the memo here.
The consensus there seems to be that Governor Romney is splitting hairs on a minor issue — in-state tuition and similar benefits for illegal immigrants — that doesn’t really matter to anybody. I think that’s totally wrong.
In all honesty, I don’t think most people have a well-developed ideology on immigration. There is only one Mark Krikorian and one Tamar Jacoby — and that’s probably for the good, as the rest of us have other things to worry about. Either side of the debate that took place earlier this year has a poll claiming the majority of the public supports its position, depending on how you word the question. To me, that’s not because pollsters are dishonest — that’s because most folks only have a visceral opinion on this (namely, “Fix it!”) which can manifest itself in a variety of actual solutions.
So with that in mind, I don’t think the candidates are well advised to get into the weeds on this issue — employer verification versus a path to citizenship versus amnesty versus “Oh no, my solution isn’t amnesty” versus some or all of the above. But I do think that the vast majority of people agree that you shouldn’t get a handout for breaking the law — and that’s the principle Governor Romney’s ad gets at. Like I said, I’m pretty ambivalent on this issue — but I sure don’t think people who break the law should get in-state tuition. And I don’t think I’m the only person out there who would change the channel if an ad about the definition of amnesty came on, but who might be interested in this kind of common-sense issue.

About Charles Mitchell

EFM's resident Yankee, Charles Mitchell, works in the non-profit arena in his native Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Charissa, live near the state capital of Harrisburg with their daughter, Adeline, and are members of a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America.

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