The Republican obsession with illegal immigration continues. The latest salvo came last night, as GOP presidential candidates debated national security. It came from Newt Gingrich, an unlikely source who, according to recent polls, has recently taken the lead in the GOP race. Here is what he said:
"If you've been here 25 years and you got three kids and two grandkids, you've been paying taxes and obeying the law, you belong to a local church, I don't think we're going to separate you from your family, uproot you forcefully and kick you out."
This is a perfectly reasonable, sensible -- dare one say it, humane -- response. But we know that such an approach has already derailed the candidacy of Governor Perry, who led the field at one point yet now sits at 6% according to Quinnipiac's latest poll.
The question everybody is asking this morning is whether this stance will cost Gingrich in the race. History suggests that it will. I have a slightly different question. What must happen within a political culture for a person who has lived in a place for 25 years, with three children and two grandchildren, who pays taxes and obeys the law, goes to church to be removed from his family, uprooted, and forcefully kicked out? How is such a consideration even on the table?
Rick Perry got it right the first time: such a culture has "no heart." The question we must ask ourselves is how such a thing happened in the first place.