Frontrunner To Punchline: Debate Crowd Laughs At Romney’s Self-Deportation

Mitt Romney has gone from frontrunner to punchline as some in the Florida debate audience laughed when he suggested that illegal immigrants should deport themselves.

Here is the video:

Transcript via Think Progress:

SMITH: Governor Romney, there’s one thing I’m confused about. You say you don’t want to go and round up people and deport them, but you also say they’d have to go back to their own questions and then apply for citizenship. So if you don’t deport them, how do you send them home?

ROMNEY: Well, the answer is self-deportation, which is people decide that they can do better by going home because they can’t find work here because they don’t have legal documentation to allow them to work here. (Audience laughs) And so we’re not going to round people up. […] Well, yes, we’d have a card that indicates who’s here legally. And if people are not able to have a card, and have that through an e-verify system to determine that they are here legally, then they’re going to find they can’t find work here. And if people don’t get work here, they’re going to self-deport to a place they can get work.

Gee, at first glance that doesn’t sound so bad. Self-deportation would mean that illegal immigrants would go back home on their own if they couldn’t find jobs here. However, what Romney really means is that he plans to make life so awful for illegal immigrants that they choose to go back home. Romney wants those people who are here illegally to receive no benefits of any kind. He wants an employment verification system that would bar the hiring of illegal workers, and punish employers who hired non-citizens.

The problem with this plan is that it carries the risk of backfiring and creating an entire class of people who have no other choice but to turn to various forms of crime in order to survive. Romney assumes that illegal immigrants will eventually go home on their own, but what if they don’t? What if they decide to stay through any means necessary?

If more illegal immigrants turn to crime, more of them end up in jail and prison, and the taxpayers foot the bill for their incarceration.

The fact of the matter is that illegal immigrants are relied on to do jobs that Americans won’t do because of backbreaking physical labor and/or low pay. The dirty little secret is employers need the illegal immigrant labor supply, and the U.S. economy needs the workers.

Mitt Romney’s plan is a recipe for disaster because it denies the reality that there are only two realistic policy options on immigration. The government can either offer some sort of residency or citizenship, or they can go the opposite direction and send people back home. A policy of making life so horrible that illegal immigrants choose to go home is half baked and likely to backfire.

Romney’s answer was so poor that some in the audience thought it was a joke and laughed at him. Mitt Romney wore a suit of desperation tonight, and one has to wonder if his answer on illegal immigration may have self-deported the former frontrunner right out of the race.

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6 Replies to “Frontrunner To Punchline: Debate Crowd Laughs At Romney’s Self-Deportation”

  1. Well, if Willard follows Alabama’s lead, tens of millions of dollars of crops will
    rot in the fields, school children will be traumatized and thousands of
    people will leave a state; inflicting real injury to the economy.

  2. Isn’t this asshole actually a Mexican citizen? His family considers Mexico their true country of allegiance. Another example of the repubs shooting themselves in the foot and hurting our country.

  3. Arizona, which dwells in its own reality, is giving Romney’s plan a good shot and harassing Latino citizens in the process. I doubt if there’s any more polarized, hateful place in the country than Arizona is right now. I’m in the process of writing a blog on the Republican-inspired cruelties that are going on here, but the effort wore me out tonight…will finish tomorrow! Anyway, it’ll be interesting to see whether Romney is embraced by Republican Arizonans, in recognition that he’s a fellow idiot.

  4. Illegal immigration helps business owners from having to pay a decent wage. These people are taken advantage of. They don’t get the same protections as American workers. We have been subsisting on the backs of illegal immigrants for so long that now there are segments of our economy that can’t exist without it. Don’t you see how wrong this is? If a farmer has to leave a crop in the field without illegal labor then so be it. If we have to pay more for Oranges then I guess we will have to do without. Employers should be fined, and people should be deported. The initial pain would give way to better working conditions for the legal migrants, better wages, and better workers. We have let this problem fester as the solution gets harder and harder to implement. These people are not slaves and shouldn’t be treated as such. A local immigrant had been here for 10+ years. He was well respected, active in the church. An asset to the community. But he was here illegally. All this time he’d been dodging the Feds. Can you imagine how stressful that must have been? He was deported. The local media exploded. There was wailing and gnashing of teeth. 6 months later he was back in the US papers in hand and walking the path to citizenship. If he’d just done that in the beginning he’d be a citizen by now. Wouldn’t have had all those years sneaking around. Just think about it from a Longview and you’ll realize legal immigration is in everyone’s best interests.

  5. Willard is embracing the kind of scorched-earth policy that is bound to backfire because it ignores certain realities that are inconvenient to a lot of people. For example, as has been proven in Alabama, illegal immigrants do jobs that the vast majority of Americans are unwilling to do and at a pittance that most of us would find unacceptable. Now, Alabama is paying a price because there are crops going untended. The GOP contenders are trying to outdo each other in order to show which one is the “toughest” and the least empathetic for the most vulnerable in this country.

  6. It’s kind of hard to do without eating.

    Seriously… not everyone can do without, and a lot of the poor are already in a marginal state and any raised prices will make life almost impossible.

    The farms could pay the people a decent wage, keep their prices nearly the same, AND make a profit – and the bigger the company (most farms are corporations these days), the easier to do this. I received a petition this last week, to get another large company to support the migrant workers… in essence doubling their pay would mean a 1c per pound difference in the price of tomatoes, if that much. That is with keeping the rich people’s profits the same. (I am certain that they will try to use the increase in pay to the migrants as an excuse to significantly boost their own profits – the rich are like that.)

    The real result of this is true American citizens, who happen to be Latino, will flee. That’s what is already happening in Alabama… and the rich are probably snapping up the property they left behind (literally abandoned) to sell to the highest bidder. The “legal” Latinos (including American-born to American-born parents) are fleeing because of persecution and harassment, the “illegal”… well, they’re already violating the law.

    And since we’re talking about this, I traveled to Mississippi several times during the latter part of last year – and every time, we saw Border Patrol cars along the interstate, waiting to stop vans loaded with Latino – “looking” people. They’re already on the prowl – IN FLORIDA. I didn’t notice any in Alabama, but that may be because the state was “doing their job for them”. They were there EVERY time we drove to and from Mississippi. Racism is lifting up its ugly head and the viper is already striking.

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