Santorum and the Messy Truth of Immigration

Arthur  Schaper
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Posted: Dec 09, 2016 12:01 AM
Santorum and the Messy Truth of Immigration

Former US Senator Rick Santorum was a blip on the radar for me as a presidential contender. A blue-collar spokesman for the needs of industrial America, and particularly in Pennsylvania, he touched on key issues which Trump grabbed and ran with—all the way to his election win November 8th. His consistency on immigration and trade received more scrutiny on CNN’s “The Messy Truth with Van Jones.” The program has an interesting title, since the truth often gets messed with or messed up on the Clinton News Network, and especially with Jones.

But no one was messing with Santorum two nights ago.

Why welcome the former two-time US Senator from Pennsylvania, who had lost by double-digits in 2006, not to resurface until 2012—and then 2016—for abortive Presidential bids? After all, it was not must of a surprise that he won Iowa, even if by the slimmest of margins (announced one month after the caucuses). In 2016, I thought it was an unserious decision of his to run for President a second time. He was the last chance for the “NeverRomney” troop in 2012, of which I was one. This election season, we had so many great choices, so Santorum did not register for me.

I gave him a second look during the first under-card debate he had participated in. There it became clear why he is a force to be reckoned with today. Then and now, Santorum focused on two issues during his two campaigns, which he had outlined in his book Blue Collar Conservatives:

1. Help Americans without college degrees to compete and win in the United States. Rebuild the industrial and manufacturing base of this country.

2. Stop illegal immigration, which has particularly harmed poor, working, and middle-class Americans.

The Rust Belt, the industrial core of this country has been eaten out, and much of it do to unscrupulous business practices combined with government mismanagement and micromanaging, all of which made this country far less competitive. Santorum implicitly understands how illegal immigration is hurting working Americans, while the majority of the Republican (and Democratic) Parties have been ignoring these issues.

Granted, blue-collar hero Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to 3.5 million illegal aliens living in the country. They had broken the law, either though illegal entry or unlawful presence. Yes, the “rule of law” still matters and is facing unprecedented attack

Without the rule of law, without enforcement, we have:

  •        Corruption
  •        Anarchy
  •        Apartheid, in which there is one set of laws for those in power, another for those who are not

We simply cannot have that.

Donald Trump explained it well: a country without borders is not a country.

Ted Cruz asked a young illegal alien in this country: “Mexico, Honduras, and China are allowed to secure their borders. Why not the United States?”

Incidentally enough the best statements I heard about immigration enforcement, and a full-on rejection of amnesty, whether for “DREAMers” or anyone else—came from Rick Santorum.

Santorum stumped hard on these dynamics, as did Trump. And the former Presidential contender was not afraid to share this point. So, no one should be surprised that on CNN, an audience member encapsulated the Republican Party’s sore spot on these issues and tried to corner him.

The question was as loaded and misleading as they come, the “split up the family” question.

Instead of dodging or caving on this issue, Santorum emphasized enforcement as our country’s pre-eminent need, relying on the account of his immigrant family. His grandfather came to the United States first, but left his children behind to bring them later. That was the law at the time. For the first seven years of his life, Rick’s father waited, living under the hostile Mussolini regime.  When he found out, Rick asked his father how he felt about having to wait.

The father answered: “America was worth the wait.”

Yes, this country is worth they wait. The whole tenor of this answer, which is what makes it so gratifying, is that We the People of the United States are not at fault, nor are we to feel a sense of shame that we do not relax our laws and abandon our borders to cater to every person straining to enter this country.

Santorum didn’t play defense. Santorum did not apologize.

The same held true when he confronted Elizabeth Vilchis, the young illegal who feared losing everything she had worked for because of her current immigration legal status.

While The Huffington Post, the Young Turks (if anyone still watches them), and other liberal website rags demeaned the former US Senator’s accurate response, I actually found it brave and refreshing, one worthy of emulation: “[Y]ou have the ability to go to any other country right now and apply those wares, and be successful, and reapply to come back to America,” Santorum added. “Go and make the world a better place.”

In summary: we are still a nation of laws. It’s not the fault of the United States or any American citizen that you are in this country illegally.

Compassion is a worthy trait, but our government exists as a matter of force to protect our rights and secure our borders. Sob stories can no longer be the final debating point for resolving our nation’s problems, particular the acute concerns associated with the messy truth of immigration. If you notice at the end of the CNN discussion, Santorum was prepared to answer the more serious aspect of Vilichis’ status situation … but Van Jones wouldn’t allow him to.

How unfortunate.

If Rick Santorum had more money and better TV personality, he could have been the next President of the United States. For now, I hope that more Americans, particularly Trump supporters and pro-enforcement activists recognize the courage and clarity of Santorum’s immigration arguments—on CNN! And particularly on a program as slanted and biased as ‘The Messy Truth with Van Jones.’