This weekend, in an interview with Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera, action star and conservative activist Chuck Norris pointed out that most undocumented immigrants are “good and law abiding” and even proposed a three-step plan for providing them with a path to legalization. Norris went as far to suggest that friend and political idol, Gov. Mike Huckabee (R-AK), might support his proposal:
NORRIS: A lot of my [KickStart] students parents were or are illegal immigrants. But they’re making a living here and they’re law-abiding citizens. And my solution to it is give them a work-permit for two years, and for two years — if they maintain their law-abiding status — then give them a permanent worker permit. And in three years after that, let them apply for their US citizenship.
RIVERA: We should lobby Gov. Huckabee about that. Because I say if the Republicans reached out to Latinos on the issue of immigration, I think that the Republicans would be the majority Party.
NORRIS: Oh, I think Mike would go for this.
It would come as a breath of fresh air if Huckabee adopted Norris’ position on immigration, but it might take some convincing. While relatively moderate on immigration during his tenure as governor, Huckabee’s immigration platform veered far to the right during his presidential campaign in 2008. Huckabee specifically signed an anti-immigrant group’s “No-Amnesty Pledge” which made clear that he opposed allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the US and would not support a path back to the US once they were deported back to their home countries. His own immigration plan was modeled after the right-wing diatribe of anti-immigrant zealot, Mark Krikorian. Throughout his campaign, Huckabee sparred in a tit-for-tat debate with Gov. Mitt Romney over who was toughest on immigration.
It wouldn’t be easy, but Huckabee and the Republican Party would probably benefit from regaining the trust and respect of Latino voters. Several members of the GOP leadership came out of last year’s elections saying the GOP seriously needs to “change its tune” on immigration. That includes former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Republican strategist Karl Rove, Colin Powell, former Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL), and many more.
President Obama would like to see undocumented immigrants “pay a fine, learn English, and go to the back of the line” before fixing their status.