Via Breitbart, it’s almost beside the point whether what he’s saying here about the expense and logistical difficulties of deporting 11 million people is correct. For what it’s worth, it is correct. No less an authority than Mark Krikorian, executive director of the restrictionist Center for Immigration Studies, said this to WaPo last month:
Amnesty isn’t on Trump’s agenda, though. His plan is deportation, which Krikorian dismissed as unrealistic.
“It’s a gimmick,” Krikorian said. “He’s just making it up as he goes along. What ever goes into his mind comes out of his mouth. There’s no way to deport 11 or 12 million people in a short period of time.”
Even Mitt Romney, whose immigration policy was the most famously conservative plank in his campaign, didn’t bother fantasizing about mass deportation. His plan was to encourage self-deportation by imposing penalties on employers stiff enough that they wouldn’t hire illegals in the first place. As the work dried up, people who’d crossed the border from Mexico would cross right back. Carson’s calling for something similar in the clip below to stop the influx of new illegals, saying, “You have to turn off the spigot that dispenses goodies, including employment. If there is nothing to come for, then people won’t come.” The difference between him and Romney is that he’s prepared to let illegals who are already here in the U.S. stay put in a guest-worker program — although, as it turns out, the GOP platform that was approved at the convention where Romney was formally nominated also called for a guest-worker program. Ted Cruz also wants a more robust guest-worker program, at least for skilled immigrants. And Trump himself — who knows? Catch him on the right day and he’ll tell you that once illegals have been made to leave the U.S., he’d support an “expedited” process that would let them come right back in again as legal workers. Quote: “We got to move ’em out, we’re going to move ’em back in if they’re really good people.” Is that materially better than Carson’s plan? Why spend a boatload of money to remove illegals en masse if most of them are going to come back in?
But the policy details are beside the point. The risk here for Carson is that he’s suggesting there are practical limitations on what a conservative president could achieve, and the key to Trump’s appeal is that he makes people believe there are no such limitations if you elect the right person. Find a guy who’s rich and unbeholden to special interests, who’s a master negotiator, who’s ordained by God to be a consummate winner or whatever and there’s no limit to what he can achieve in office. He’s the ultimate “Green Lantern” candidate, which is why so many of his critics see him as a would-be strongman a la Putin. Deport 11 million people? Not easy for an average leader, but for a superhero it’s doable. That’s how he’ll counter Carson on this, I assume — Carson’s willingness to rule out mass deportation preemptively proves he’s weak-willed, which guarantees a failed presidency if he’s elected. Carson’s counter to that is summed up in this quote given to The Hill:
“I won’t change,” he said. “I’ve heard people say, ‘You have to have more fire.’ They want me to stomp and bang my fists, but that’s not who I am. I’m a calm and rational person. You have to be that way as a neurosurgeon.”
That’s a weird pitch in a year when populist rage is swamping the GOP, but Carson seems to think most voters prefer the idea of a steady hand on the wheel as president to a loose cannon prone to making promises he almost certainly can’t keep. Emphasizing the practical difficulties of mass deportation enhances that image: Ben Carson’s not going to BS you, not as a candidate and not as president. You can trust him. Will that play better in Iowa than Trump’s “I can move mountains” blather? You tell me.
Here he is yesterday talking immigration. He was on Megyn Kelly’s show last night too, where she asked him what his favorite Bible verses are, a question that’s been posed to Trump. Carson had no difficulty answering.