Exclusion and its Influence in the 2012 GOP Presidential Race

The GOP presidential race continues to remain up for grabs. Numerous candidates have risen to the top only to soon after see a fall in popularity.  The only constant in this race seems to be Mitt Romney, who has remained near the top of the polls throughout most of his campaign for president.  The variable in the race seems to be which candidate will emerge as the “anti-Romney” candidate.  Earlier this summer in August it seemed that Governor Rick Perry was going to be the challenger to unseat Romney. After his fall in the polls, Herman Cain was considered a frontrunner until he was faced with troublesome allegations of sexual harassment.  Newt Gingrich is the most recent candidate to surge in the polls.  Here is one recent poll showing Gingrich’s rise: http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/newt-gingrich-slightly-leading-in-new-gallup-poll/

One issue that has been at the forefront of debate in the Republican Party in recent days is immigration.  In particular, Gingrich’s comments regarding his plan to deal with illegal immigrants has gained much attention.  Gingrich believes that some illegal immigrants should have a legal pathway to remain in the United States.  This has been extremely controversial in the Republican Party, which has a strong base of supporters against policies protecting the residency of illegal immigrants in the United States.  Here is a link to a CBS video I recently saw highlighting the basic arguments of Gingrich and his opponents within the Republican Party on this issue:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7rYk7S-2P9M

Although Gingrich does not believe that illegal immigrants should become citizens in the United States, he does believe that there should programs set up for certain illegal immigrants to live here legally.  Gingrich believes that illegal immigrants who have lived in the United States for over 25 years and have been “law-abiding and tax paying” should have the opportunity to be exempt from deportation.  Here is an in depth article focusing on Gingrich’s plan for illegal immigrants in the United States:  http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/lookout/gingrich-plan-dealing-illegal-immigration-look-183354195.html

This ongoing issue in the political world made me think of our discussions in class about citizenship.  In particular, the exclusion of citizenship is at the heart of this issue.  Both Douglass and Jacobs highlighted the horrors that they were forced to endure because of their exclusion from citizenship.  Discriminatory practices (such as slavery) were enabled in part because African Americans did not have equal rights as citizens.  Even though Gingrich’s plan would not give citizenship to illegal immigrants in Shklar’s terms (Earning and voting), I believe that it may create a society that is less discriminatory in nature. Citizens may be more inclined to associate with illegal immigrants if they were in the country legally.  Additionally, Gingrich’s plan is a more plausible idea to deal with this issue in comparison to other Republican presidential candidates.  Rounding up the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States would be a nearly impossible task, and Gingrich’s solution provides, at the very least, a more humane approach to dealing with this issue.

I am not arguing for illegal immigrants obtaining the rights of citizenship; however I believe policies enacted to legalize qualified individual’s residency in the United States are beneficial.  Spending tax dollars to try to locate and remove 11 million people from the United States is simply not reasonable, especially in the current economic budget deficit.  If legalized, illegal immigrants can potentially be an asset to many growing businesses throughout America.

I like Gingrich’s plan on illegal immigrants more than others in the GOP because it is a more humanitarian solution.  Although illegal immigrants are not citizens, they are still people.  I believe that their basic ‘natural rights’ should still be respected.  Removing millions of illegals would tear apart families in the United States.  The well-being of the ‘excluded group’ should be taken into consideration before detrimental exclusionary policies are enacted.  I understand that not everyone can have citizenship.  However, I support policies towards illegal immigrants that respect the right to “life liberty and the pursuit of happiness” that all people are born with according to the Declaration of Independence. If these rights come at the expense of exclusion, I believe the exclusion should not be carried out.  I’d like to hear other people’s thoughts on this issue.  What do you think the best policy is to deal with illegal immigrants in the United States? Should the well-being of non-citizens be taken into consideration when they are excluded? If so, in what circumstances is exclusion acceptable if the natural rights of the excluded groups are violated?

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One Response to Exclusion and its Influence in the 2012 GOP Presidential Race

  1. emmasag says:

    I too watched the most recent Republican debate on national security, and I must say I was pleasantly surprised by Newt Gingrich’s idea that ‘certain undocumented individuals’ should be allowed to stay in America, on the basis that deporting all illegal immigrants is unrealistic and breaking up families goes against the ideals of the GOP. Nevertheless, I too find this plan to be insufficient based on the fact these indivdiuals must accept the denial of basic rights (reserved for American citizens), in order to protect themselves from deportation. Frankly, it is an unacceptable compromise.
    The bottomline in this hotly contested issue (solving the immigration issue facing this nation) is that the undocumented people in this country still deserve to have their fundamental human rights protected. Unfortunately in this country, without any political power, this protection is far from guranteed. Even today, minority groups are forced to operate with little political leverage, explaining why these minority groups remain on the margins of politics.
    In the case of immigrants, to believe that the immigration issue facing this nation will be solved by simply extending residency rights (based on vague qualifications?) to undocumented immigrants is ridculous. This is not to say that illegals should necessarily be granted immediate amnesty and full citizenship. Rather, I truly do not believe that this nation can solve this problem by trying to wait out a generation of illegal immigrants, denying them their basic rights in the meantime.
    To put it simply, Gingrich’s plan seems refreshing in the light of other GOP candidates’ opinions; however, in the long run, it will not resolve the illegal immigration issue anytime soon.

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