Regardless of political affiliation, we should all be grateful to the state GOP for organizing the event billed as a “debate.” But the fact is that regardless of the position of the people asking the questions, immigration is not only a giant hot-button national issue that will never go away in Congress, but also one that the Georgia GOP base has certainly not forgotten.
The concept that immigration and enforcement is somehow a separate issue from jobs!, jobs!, jobs!, taxes, education, health care, national security, quality of life or the future of the Republican Party is wildly shortsighted. Ignoring immigration as an issue may be wishful thinking, but it is dangerously wrong.
There were nearly 1,000 concerned voters at KSU for this event.
Not requiring candidates for the U.S. Senate to be vetted on their positions on amnesty, enforcement and future flows of immigration is irresponsible.
According to the United States Department of Homeland Security, Georgia has a higher number of illegal alien residents than does Arizona. We rank number six in the nation. Jobs? The Pew Research Center says about 7 percent of the Georgia workforce is black-market labor. Wages, especially for low-skilled workers, have been stagnant for years. Official unemployment is now below 8 percent for the first time in years, but anyone in government happy with 7 percent needs to be replaced. It is much higher for our poorest, including black and Hispanic Americans.
English is an optional language in the Peach State … ya’ll.
While he is silent on the issue now, in 2011, Gov. Nathan Deal repeatedly used the estimate that the Georgia budget is being hit to the tune of $2.4 billion annually on the cost of illegal immigration. Perhaps this is down the priority list for the people asking questions of U.S. Senate candidates at debates, but many Georgia voters are likely to regard this as “real money” after two decades of watching their rule of law disappear along with their jobs.
We offer a respectful challenge and suggestion to the Republicans in charge of the next Senate primary candidate “debate”: If you are unwilling to broach the immigration issue, allow questions from the great unwashed audience who come out to try to pick a candidate to represent them in the U.S. Senate for at least six years.
See if illegal immigration, the ongoing establishment Republican push to repeat the failed amnesty of 1986, expanding immigration for more foreign job applicants — while Americans stand in the unemployment line — and an amnesty-again path to the voting booth for 20 million undocumented Democrats is an issue for Georgia conservative or Republican voters.
D.A. King of Marietta heads The Dustin Inman Society.