Three months to the day after the Dem presidential candidates gathered at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, FL, for the “Univision” debate, the Republican candidates did the same. For those who were watching the Pittsburgh Steelers get their asses kicked by the New England Patriots and tuned in late or not at all, this is that loco debate in which questions posed in Español were translated into English, and then answers given in English were translated into Español (wouldn’t it be simpler if everyone just learned English?).

As The Stiletto previously noted, in their debate on issues of interest to Hispanic voters on September 9th, the Dem presidential hopefuls favored amnesty, chain migration, the DREAM Act, extending universal health coverage to illegals and putting an end to immigration raids (the Lonewacko blog offers a great recap).

Unlike the Univision debate, The Stiletto found an English-language transcript and pulled together quotes from it, plus various news reports, to compare how the Republican candidates (sans CO Rep. Tom Tancredo who was a no-show because he objected to the bilingual format) answered questions on these issues:

† Rudy Giuliani (NY): [W]e have to end illegal immigration. If we don’t end illegal immigration, we’re really going to risk legal immigration. We should end illegal immigration at the border, because it can’t be really dealt with internally. We should do it by having a fence, a technological fence, as well as a physical fence, but the technological fence is more important. It should be used to alert the Border Patrol of the people coming to the border, and we should stop people from coming in. Then we should have a tamper-proof ID card that everybody can get who wants to come into the United States legally. … When we have control of our borders, when we preserve the legality of immigration, we can then turn to the people who are here, we can have them get the tamperproof ID cards, and the people that come forward and sign up, they can pay taxes. The people who do not do that should be expelled from the United States.

† Mike Huckabee (AR): I agree with the mayor that the first step is a secure border, because otherwise nothing really matters. But I do think the pathway has to include people going to the back, not the front of the line. There can’t be an amnesty policy, because that’s an insult to all the people who waited, sometimes, ridiculously, for years, just to be able to make the transition here. I think a reasonable window of time in which a person would go back to the native country, start the process, but the real challenge is that our government, which has failed miserably in all of this – it’s got to get its act together. When people come to this country, they shouldn’t fear. They shouldn’t live in hiding. They ought to have their heads up, because the one thing about being an American is, we believe every person ought to have his or her head up and proud, and nobody should have to be in hiding because they’re illegal when our government ought to make it so that people can reasonably come here in a legal fashion.

† Duncan Hunter (CA): [Y]ou have to be here legally, because the first thing you’ve got to learn in this country is the rule of law. And the second thing is, you have to make sure that your kids learn English, because that is the American opportunity. Now, in 1983, we gave an amnesty, and … three million people came in who were allowed to stay in who were here illegally. We said at that point, no more, and we’re not going to let anybody else come in. After that, 12 million more people came in. If we give an amnesty to this next batch of 12 million people, you will have a third wave of people coming in expecting to catch the third amnesty … people who are here illegally have to go home.

† John McCain (AZ): I’ll give you some straight talk. I think some of the rhetoric that many Hispanics hear about illegal immigration makes some of them believe that we are not in favor of or seek the support of Hispanic citizens in this country. … I think the most practical value is to make English used by all Americans and all citizens, and all who come here. The only way we move up the economic ladder from the bottom rung is to know English. And I would emphasize the importance of every person who comes to this country to become a citizen and enjoy its liberties and beauty is to learn English. And I will do everything I can to help them do that. … I come from a state where illegal immigration has caused enormous problems, whether it be shootouts on the freeway or broken borders or destroyed wildlife refuges. And I believe my job, as a senator from a state on the border, is to get in the arena, not stand by and complain or say no to everything … I learned that Americans want the border secured first. … But I’ll say to you what I said at the last debate before a non- Hispanic audience. And that is, we have to address this issue with compassion and love, because these are human beings.

† Ron Paul (TX): Well, it’s practical because we can all understand each other. I sometimes think that those who attack bilingualism sometimes are jealous, and we feel inferior, because we’re not capable. … I think it is good and proper to have one language, which would be English, for all legal matters at the national level. But this doesn’t preclude bilingualism or whatever in private use or in education or in local government.

† Mitt Romney (MA): Those who have come illegally, in my view, should be given the opportunity to get in line with everybody else, but there should be no special pathway for those that have come here illegally to jump ahead of the line or to become permanent residents or citizens. I think we ought to secure our border, we ought to have an employment verification system to know who’s here legally and illegally, and recognize that legal immigration is an extraordinary source of great capability and vitality for our country. We welcome the cultures that come here, the education, the work ethic, the family values. We’re going to protect legal immigration. At the same time, we’re going to enforce the law, show that we’re a nation of laws, and welcome the people who have been standing in line first.

† Fred Thompson (TN): [W]e have to enforce our borders, and we have to uphold the law. There are millions of people who have stood in line in embassies around the world, United States embassies, waiting to become American citizens, waiting to become legal residents of the United States of America. … But when they finally come here, and when they are joined by those people in Latin America who have often fought tyranny, who have fought against the Castro regime, who have come here and risked their lives to become United States citizens, when all those people come here, they become a part of us; they become a part of our family. It would disrespect them if we said other people who had not obeyed the law and had not gone through the process, to set them above them and to give them special status above those who have obeyed the law and fought so hard to become good American citizens and legal residents. … Right now, we have a situation where people can bring in spouses, children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers and so forth. I think that people should be able to serve as a basis for the bringing in of their spouses and of their children, but I do not think there should be endless chain migration. So I think that is the issue to focus on, and not innocent children who are born here not of their own accord and who our courts have said are United States citizens.

As always, Paul was the odd man out. When Rudy touted his plan for a tamper-proof ID card, Paul objected that it would lead to a national ID card for everyone, “which I absolutely oppose.” Paul was loudly booed by the Cuban-Americans in the audience when he said it’s time for a thaw in U.S.-Cuban relations – “We’re at a time where we even ought to talk to Cuba and trade and travel to Cuba.” – and when he asserted, “We create the [Hugo] Chávezes of the world. We create the [Fidel] Castros.”

The New York Times was among various news outlets that noted the Republicans toned down the rhetoric a tad – Hunter mentioned he was once “a practicing lawyer in the barrio” and Rudy described New York City as “the largest Hispanic city … in the United States” – but did not pander to the Univision audience. Instead the candidates stayed on message, promising “strong measures to close off the country’s borders to illegal immigration … [s]ome spoke of trying to send some of the 12 million people who are estimated to be in the United States illegally back to their native countries.”

Sorpresa! The audience applauded the tough talk.

Note: The Stiletto writes about politics and other stuff at The Stiletto Blog.

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