Come Here, Work Here, Get Lost
One week the former House Speaker advocates child labor, the next he advocates what The Washington Post's Dan Balz and others in the Establishment consider a "humane" immigration policy.
At the Kennedy School at Harvard University, the former House Speaker responded to a question from an undergraduate student by suggesting
Core policies of protecting unionization and bureaucratization against children in the poorest neighborhoods, crippling them by putting them in schools that fail has done more to create income inequality in the United States than any other single policy. It is tragic what we do in the poorest neighborhoods, entrapping children in, first of all, child laws, which are truly stupid.
You say to somebody, you shouldn't go to work before you're what, 14, 16 years of age, fine. You're totally poor. You're in a school that is failing with a teacher that is failing. I've tried for years to have a very simple model. Most of these schools ought to get rid of the unionized janitors, have one master janitor and pay local students to take care of the school. The kids would actually do work, they would have cash, they would have pride in the schools, they'd begin the process of rising.
It is, instead, what CNN anchor John King, after last night's debate (transcript, here) at the DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., referred to as exemplifying the "Chamber of Commerce/grass roots divide."
Asked by moderator Wolf Blitzer about "these millions of illegal immigrants, many of whom have been in this country for a long time?" Gingrich responded
....If you're here, if you've come here recently, you have no ties to this country, you ought to go home. period. 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.
The Creeble Foundation is a very good red card program that says you get to be legal, but you don't get a pass to citizenship. And so there's a way to ultimately end up with a country where there's no more illegality, but you haven't automatically given amnesty to anyone.
After other candidates addressed the issue, Newt continued
....I don't see how the -- the party that says it's the party of the family is going to adopt an immigration policy which destroys families that have been here a quarter century. And I'm prepared to take the heat for saying, let's be humane in enforcing the law without giving them citizenship but by finding a way to create legality so that they are not separated from their families.
Just to be sure no one would mistake him for a liberal, Gingrich immediately after the debate reiterated his opposition to allowing the grunts to become citizens and his support for a temporary worker program.
Last week's Newt Gingrich and this week's Newt Gingrich are not at odds- they are one and the same, ideologically and morally consistent. Consider the beauty of it all: child janitors would be paid little- they are minors, after all, and maybe instead of money we can give them scholastic credit for doing the work or institute a public service requirement for graduation.. And as for unionization- don't even think about it.
Meanwhile, we can bring plenty of workers in from Mexico, pay them a pittance, all in return for not being granted citizenship. And if they complain about pay or work conditions, they can take a hike; they aren't citizens, after all. With the lowest percentage of Americans with jobs since the early 1980s (chart, from Business Insider, below), class warfare can really be encouraged, with increasing numbers of non-citizens competing against citizens for increasingly scarce jobs.
Immigrants who are in the United States illegally should not be in the United States. Those who are here legally should become citizens- fully American, the sooner the better, rather than kept in the shadows for the benefit of a candidate's business supporters or corporate benefactors.
Newt Gingrich's immigration policy is humane- for employers of cheap labor. For the rest of us, not so much.