On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”
On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.
“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”
True? Why, no. According to DHS by way of the NYT, more come from several far eastern countries. When pressed, Huck claimed that 660 Pakistanis crossed the border last year, a figure his campaign said came from a newspaper report. The only thing I can find on Google is this old Denver Post article, which gives the same number but specifies that that was the total from 2002 to 2005. In fact, per the CNN piece, DHS nabbed 721 Pakistanis just last year. But as of 2005, Pakistan didn’t even rank among the top 10 nations of origin.
The media’s covering this with surprising attentiveness, doubtless not so much because of Huck’s shakiness on the facts than his audacious suggestion that people hailing from the nation where the “real terrorists” are and behaving unusually might warrant a bit of extra scrutiny. Oh well. If that’s what it takes to get them off the Huck bandwagon, so be it. Attack, media! Attack like the wind!
Your quote of the day, from CNN’s senior political analyst no less, dismissing the suggestion that Huck’s string of Pakistan gaffes might hurt him: “Mike Huckabee is a populist. His comments on Pakistan reflect a populist understanding of the crisis, which, is to say, not much.” Viva populism!