MY LIVE-BLOGGING DURING THE DEBATE
(The following is what I wrote while the debate was occurring -- aided immensely by my TV pause button. I will come back this week with a much more detailed commentary on everything said about immigration during the debate.)
First question in the second presidential debate is a humdinger. Jeremy, a young man hoping to graduate in 2014, wants to know whether he has any hope for a job when he gets out. Romney correctly notes that more than half of all recent college graduates don't have degree jobs or have no jobs at all. But we'll see if immigration comes up whether the two candidates remember that all those unemployed and underemployed Americans are affected by any immigration decision.
I start listening to this debate without much anticipation that the candidates will treat immigration as a jobs market issue because I haven't seen it really happen ever in any primary or general debate.
Prove me wrong, candidates.
OBAMA MENTIONS IMMIGRATION FIRST IN A LITANY AGAINST ROMNEY
Pres. Obama breaks the barrier and mentions immigrations. Responding to a question to Gov. Romney about how he differs from Pres. Bush, the President named a few bad ways that Romney is different from Bush.
One of those was that Bush "embraced comprehensive immigration reform. He didn't call for self-deportation."
The President's supporters have been clamoring for days for him to take after Romney for his suggestion that illegal aliens should go back home on their own rather than having mass deportations or having mass amnesties.
The fact that Obama brought this up in this litany suggests that he and his advisors definitely were going to get "self-deportation" into the debate as a jab. What bothers me is that they apparently have some reaons to believe that voters are going to be turned off by the concept of illegal aliens going home. Do they think voters think the only right policy is for illegal aliens to remain in the U.S.?
ROMNEY PUT AN IMMIGRATION JAB AGAINST OBAMA IN HIS OWN LITANY
Romney now puts immigration into his litany of complaints about Obama of broken promises. And it isn't a helpful mention. He basically seems to say that Obama hasn't pushed his amnesty and more-immigration policies hard enough.
Romney says Obama promised in 2008 he would put out an immigraiton plan but "he didn't even file it."
OK, now he's pointing out that job creation the last four years has not even kept up with population growth. But he fails to note that the vast majority of the population growth (and labor growth) comes from federal-caused immigration.
ROMNEY LAYS OUT HIS IMMIGRATION PLAN
A young woman asks: "What do you paln on doing with immigrants without their greencards that are currently living here as productive members of society?"
Oh, my. Hard to avoid a pandering answer to such a loaded question.
Romney says, "Let me step back and tell you what I would like to do with our immigration policy."
He gives the stock "we're a nation of immigrants." He does his usual stuff about welcoming people who come here as legal immigrants. Yes, anybody who takes a green card our government has offered, we should welcome them. The issue is how many green cards to offer.
Ugh, he talks about stapling green cards indiscriminantly to all kinds of foreign students. I told you these candidates would likely forget about Jeremy who was a college student wanting a job.
This is great:
"So I will not grant amnesty to those who come here illegally.
"What I will do is put in place an employment verification system to make sure that employers who hire people who have come here illegally are sanctioned for doing so. I won't put in place magnets for people comeing here illegally for instance I would not give drivers licenses -- as the president would."
OK, it is clearer and clearer that Romney wants to give an amnesty to at least some of the so-called DREAM kids. But this sentence indicates he might seriously limit who get it:
"The kids of those who came here illegally should have a pathway to become a permanent resident of the U.S. Military service is one way."
OBAMA LAYS OUT HIS
His own "nation of immigrants" stuff, along with saying he is making it easier and cheaper for immigrant workers to get here because "they'll start new businesses" and "create jobs for people here."
It's a good sign that despite always emphasizing amnesty for nearly everybody when he is speaking to immigrant voters, he doesn't quickly get to amnesty and does quickly get to securing the border.
"We do have to deal with our border." He brags about low number of border crossings now."
Ooh, he says his enforcement goes after "gangbangers but not after "folks who are here just because they're trying to figure out ohow to feed their families."
Talks about DREAM Act amnesty.
Jumps on Romney for saying the Arizona law is a model for the nation.
ROY BECK is Founder & CEO of NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Oct 17th 2012 @ 10:24am EDT