In the last week -- amidst the national controversy kicked up by the killing in the sanctuary city of San Francisco -- our NumbersUSA Grade Card Committee has made far more changes to the 2016 Presidential Hopefuls Worker-Protection Immigration Grade Cards than at any other time since we introduced them in the spring.
We changed immigration category ratings for 10 of the 21 Hopefuls we are following.
Three Hopefuls earned overall grade improvements.
One got an overall grade demotion.
View all the Grades of the 21 Hopefuls -- and the 210 category Ratings -- at: www.NumbersUSA.com/2016
Let's walk through some of the highlights of what the Grade Card Committee found in our meeting this week.
CHANGE OF RATINGS IN THE IMMIGRATION CATEGORIES
(To fully understand the context for these changes, go to www.NumbersUSA.com/2016 and click on the photo of the Hopeful.)
RUBIO -- "Implement Entry/Exit" system to track visa overstayers: Upgraded from Abysmal to MIXED because of repeated recent statements on the importance of doing something about the illegal aliens who came here legally and then violated the promise they made when receiving their visas to go back home:
He (Rubio) continued saying '40% of illegal immigrants in this country are coming legally. They are overstaying visas and we are not tracking them. We have no idea who they are or where they are. And I've said repeatedly that until we deal with that issue, we can't do anything else on immigration.' "
Why only a MIXED Rating? Because two years ago he resisted efforts to beef up the entry-exit system in the Gang of Eight comprehensive amnesty bill he co-sponsored, and because he has not shown any leadership to push more funding and oversight to get the entry-exit system built. Still, it is good to see him drawing attention to the issue on the campaign stump.
BUSH -- "Interior Enforcement": UPgraded from Unhelpful to MIXED.
CARSON -- "Reduce Unfair Work-Visa Competition": DOWNgraded from Mixed to HARMFUL.
CARSON -- "Interior Enforcement": UPgraded from 1st Steps to GOOD.
CHRISTIE -- "Border Security": UPgraded from Mixed to 1st STEPS.
CRUZ -- "Interior Enforcement": UPgraded from 1st Steps to GOOD.
HUCKABEE -- "Border Security": UPgraded from Mixed to GOOD.
HUCKABEE -- "Interior Enforcement": UPgraded from Harmful to GOOD.
KASICH -- Amnesty: DOWNgraded from Very Harmful to ABYSMAL.
KASICH -- "Reduce Unfair Work-Visa Competition": DOWNgraded from No Action to HARMFUL.
KASICH -- "Interior Enforcement": UPgraded from 1st steps to GOOD.
PAUL -- "Interior Enforcement": Changed from No Action to GOOD.
PERRY -- "Interior Enforcement": UPgraded from Mixed to GOOD.
TRUMP -- "Interior Enforcement": Changed from No Action to GOOD.
More of the reasons for the changes in the Interior Enforcement category can be found in my blog at: https://www.numbersusa.com/blog/prez-hopefuls-get-tougher-say-cut-fundin...
CHANGES IN OVERALL GRADES
Most of those changes in Ratings weren't enough to change the overall Grade of the Hopefuls . . . except for these four:
D for Rubio
Near the bottom of the class, Marco Rubio showed enough improvement to raise his grade from a D-minus to a straight D.
D+ for Kasich
Demoted from a C-minus.
C- for Huckabee
Improved from a D+.
B- for Trump
His leadership on the problem of criminal illegal aliens raised him from a C+ to a tie for the second best grade with Scott Walker.
STILL LEADING THE WAY IN FOCUSING ON THE BIG OVERALL IMMIGRATION ISSUES
Rick Santorum continued to justify his A GRADE by using every opportunity to educate the public and the media about the connection between high immigration levels and economic problems for many Americans.
Speaking at one of Washington's premier breakfasts for top media, he called for cuts in legal immigration to help working-class Americans facing stagnant wages and addressed the fact that tens of millions of legal and illegal immigrants are already in this country.
'It is not necessarily bad,' Mr. Santorum said of the current levels of legal immigration. 'But we have to analyze what the impact is ... on those who are struggling the most in America. And to do that is not jingoistic. It is not xenophobic. It is simply a rational policy discussion that we should be able to have in this country without being called various names that are not particularly appetizing,' he said.
Mr. Santorum, who finished second in the 2012 GOP primaries, . . . is pushing a populist message on the campaign trail, and gone further than any of his rivals by calling for stricter caps on legal immigration. 'You can make the argument that immigration is good for America, but if you look at stagnant wages, if you look at how immigrants are primarily taking all the net new jobs and what the impact is on those wages and benefits, I think it pretty clear what's happening,' he said.
'So to suggest, as I have, that we have to make changes to that, I think is simply a topic that needs to be front and center and talked about, and I think most Americans would like to have this conversation without being made to feel by many that you are anti-immigrant,' he said.
Perhaps as impressive as were Santorum's comments was the reaction of the media which did NOT pounce on him as being jingoistic or xenophobic. It is important for the cause of wage-earning Americans and for the safety of all Americans that the immigration solutions are proposed in a way that does not show hostility toward the foreign-born. That is not to say that those foreign citizens who have broken our laws to become illegal aliens do not bear guilt for their actions. But we need more of these Hopefuls to fully engage and better articulate the "rational policy discussion" that our country needs and deserves during this long Presidential campaigning.
THE BOLDEST NEW COMMENT
We had to demote John Kasich even lower because of his more aggressive support for amnesty. But we didn't lower him as far as we might have because of a position he took that we don't think any other Hopeful has taken.
He spoke in favor of deportations.
Not for the millions of illegal aliens here now. None of the Hopefuls calls for that. But we also can't find any other Hopeful who has called for deportations for NEW illegal aliens in the future.
Kasich promised aggressive deportations for anybody who would come illegally AFTER his amnesty:
. . . he (Kasich) went on to focus on newly arrived illegals, saying the United States must round them up and ship them back home. He said the U.S. must never appear to be saying: 'Everybody, the border is open, come here!' "
(See the latest on sanctuary positions of Perry, Cruz, Huckabee, Paul and Bush in my blog at: https://www.numbersusa.com/blog/prez-hopefuls-get-tougher-say-cut-fundin...)
With Members of Congress advancing bills to deal directly with the problem of criminal illegal aliens being released into the public, we would wish to hear Presidential Hopeful endorse those bills or suggest how they would modify them to resolve the problem. (Click here for what those bills do and how to support them.)
From this news report:
Ben Carson . . . called the concept of sanctuary cities for illegal immigrants 'ridiculous' during a campaign stop today at the Bedford Village Inn. 'No sanctuary cities,' said Carson.
That improved his INTERIOR ENFORCEMENT Rating but not by a lot because he hasn't given specifics about what he would do to change things.
Donald Trump railed against crimes by illegal aliens and raised the issue to a national debate. He has been much better at drawing attention to problems than explaining what he would do thus far.
Still, comments like Trump's and Carson's are far better than no comments from candidates who didn't weigh in at all, or than what we got from Hillary Clinton, who seemed to have the right initial inclination but was quickly pulled back by her campaign staff lest she anger the open-borders wing of her Party.
Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton became the most high-profile Democrat to wade into the debate on Tuesday, telling CNN that San Francisco should have worked with agents at Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 'The city made a mistake, not to deport someone that the federal government strongly felt should be deported,' she said in an interview. 'So I have absolutely no support for a city that ignores the strong evidence that should be acted on.'
The next thing we knew, Clinton's campaign was telling the media that she supports the sanctuary policies that violate federal law:
Hillary Clinton believes that sanctuary cities can help further public safety, and she has defended those policies going back years," said Xochitl Hinojosa, a campaign spokeswoman, in a statement made public Thursday. "As she made clear, this particular individual should not have been on the streets...She believes that we need a system where people like this don't fall through the cracks and that is why she continues to fight for comprehensive immigration reform."
ROY BECK is Founder & President of NumbersUSA
Updated: Fri, Feb 19th 2016 @ 10:36am EST