Politicians should tell the voters their position on controversial issues before, not after, elections.
My position on immigration:
Where are we right now?
Immigrants always have and will continue to contribute to our nation the values of personal responsibility and a focus on family, instead of reliance on government; the spirit of the entrepreneur—-with its creativity and innovation; and fiscal conservatism. Hispanics, in particular, are in a position to contribute these values, and Hispanics currently make up the major part of our immigrant and undocumented-immigrant populations. But we have created an untenable and unsustainable situation: We have perhaps 20 million people who live and work at the margins of society and the law. I do not believe the nation can continue with this large and growing class of residents who are isolated into a separate sub-culture. The nation needs clear borders and an identifiable citizenry that votes and taxes itself and decides its policies.
What caused this problem?
I believe that our own policies have created this problem. First, there is so much pressure on employers, with the minimum wage, over-regulation, over-unionization, and crazy law suits, that we have created the need for an “illegal” labor market. I call this the “black market” for labor. This is the natural economic outcome of bad government policy that was supposed to be “pro-worker” but actually causes employers to hire as few people as possible and creates distorted employer-employee relations. At the same time, Democrat politicians, in collaboration with labor unions, have created high barriers to trade, especially with Mexico. This creates unemployment in Mexico, because Mexico cannot export its products as easily. What do you get when you create a need for “illegal” labor in one nation, and right next door you create high employment? The answer is that you will get migration—-people will go where the jobs are. If you add to this the free social welfare programs in the U.S.—-and I oppose these, except for the very few who cannot take care of themselves—-then you create an incentive for even more illegal immigration. These policies in the U.S., over the past 50 years, have created this problem.
What is the solution?
The solution lies in these steps: First, we need to control of flow of immigration by controlling the border and raising the number of legal immigrants allowed to come here. Next, I support the return to a free-market approach to labor. This means repealing the minimum wage and excessive labor regulations, and putting an end to over-protecting the unions. I know many people disagree with this, because they think those policies are “pro-worker,” but they are not. Next, allow more free trade internationally, which will make large scale migrations of workers less necessary. Finally, reduce social welfare programs except for those who are genuinely unable to take care of themselves. I would stop the legislation my opponent has proposed, which is even more red tape for employers who want to hire workers from Mexico, and would force employers to provide housing and cheap meals to these workers. This will cause even fewer jobs and poor living conditions in a labor-camp atmosphere, where workers are treated as though they are not even capable of choosing their own housing and food.
My proposal is a concept I call “legal non-citizenship” I would legalize the status of people who are already here, but without citizenship. This will allow driver’s licenses, insurance, and control of crime, but would not allow voting. There then needs to be a path to citizenship (including the right to vote, of course) that includes learning English and understanding American law and the Constitution. I support an equal opportunity for immigrants from every nation to join our ranks as equal citizens. I do not want a permanent underclass.
I am not troubled by different states having different policies for how they deal with their residents—-people who are already here—-if the federal government continues to ignore this problem. And if the states compete against each other to get good people, that would be a good thing. I think you will see that happening if we had my concept of legal non-citizenship. The states would compete against each other to get Hispanics and others to come in. At the same time, if we scale back the free social services to only those who genuinely cannot take care of themselves, and if we create a climate of personal freedom, I believe we will encourage people coming to Texas who will make a contribution and who will not become dependent on government.
What about SB 1070 and the Dream Act?
On the issue of Arizona’s SB 1070: I support Arizona making the best decision for its people, and I hope the Obama administration will not be successful in defeating it. I have spoken to the Hispanic legislator who supported Arizona’s legislation, and I understand why Arizona passed this law. I do not, however, think that SB 1070 would be the best thing for Texas. I do not believe it would be effective in solving the problem. The solution lies in returning to a free market approach to labor, increased legal immigration, and a path to citizenship. I know that is a more complex solution, but it is the only one that will work.
I am often asked about the Dream Act and, more generally, whether I support awarding citizenship to illegal residents who complete college, or military or community service. No. I do not support it. That is because the Dream Act discriminates against ordinary people who do not want to go to college at this time—-or maybe ever—-or who do not want to do the other things right now that the Dream Act would require. I believe in creating an equal opportunity for the benefit of citizenship, not favoriing those who are in a position to do what someone else has decided is a good thing for them. What is wrong with working and raising a family? Nothing. Also the Dream Act manipulates people to do what they would not otherwise do. Do we really want colleges to be filled with students who would not want to be there, except for getting the extra benefit of citizenship? Do we want the military or community service organizations filled with peoople who would not have chosen them, except that the government promised them an extra benefit? I don’t think so. Working and raising a family is just as much a contribution to society as going to school.