Huckabee: The Question Isn’t How Many People Come to US, But Why

Republican presidential candidate and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee argued “we’ve made the mistake of thinking that the issue, the question is how many people should emigrate to America. The question is why are they emigrating?” on Thursday’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on the Fox Business Network.

Huckabee was asked if his stance on illegal immigration and Donald Trump’s comments would be “hurting the party with Latinos,” he answered, “Well that would be an assumption that the only people crossing the border are Hispanics, and that’s simply not the case. One of the concerns that many of us have is that if it were just people coming to pick tomatoes and make beds and go to work somewhere and get a better job that’s one thing, but what we have, we have people coming from Arab countries. We have people coming from China. We have people coming from all over the world. They just know that if they want to get in, and they don’t have the necessary paperwork and legal standing to do it, they can just come to the southern border and walk right across. That is the reason that it’s a concern. And I do think Republicans have to be very clear to separate, that we’re not against a particular nationality of people coming. We just want to have control of our border. We want people to come here, if they want to come for the same reason that Americans want to live here. I think we’ve made the mistake of thinking that the issue, the question is how many people should emigrate to America. The question is why are they emigrating? If they’re coming here because they want to love this country, they embrace its law and its values, they want to learn English, assimilate into our culture, then that’s one thing. If they want to come because they hear we have free food, free education, free healthcare, they can push two, here it in their own language, they stomp on our flag, burn it down if they want, and we’ll still let them vote and get a driver’s license. Oh, and by the way if they’d like to do some criminal activity we’ll allow that too, well that’s a whole different issue. And that is the reason we need to control our borders.”

Earlier Huckabee said, “I think that, for many of us, this is a matter of making sure we separate legal immigrants from illegal, focusing on the fact that there are — most people coming to this country, because they want the opportunities that America affords. That’s a compliment to America, it’s an affirmation of who we are. It’s a testament to America being that land where people look forward to getting to so that they can live a better life. That’s what makes America attractive to people. We should never apologize for that, but the fact that we have not secured our own border, something I’ve pledged in my first year as president to do, and if that sounds a little audacious, Neil, 73 years ago, we built a road, 1,700 miles worth of road between British Columbia and Alaska, and we did it in less than a year, and that was with the engineering technology of 73 years ago under the adverse conditions of the Arctic north. I know we can secure the border if we have a mind to do it, if we have the will to do it, and if we have a president who will actually say, ‘Let’s get it done.’ That’s our problem, we haven’t had a federal government that wanted to do what it needs to do to even secure our own border.”

Huckabee also weighed in on the criticism Donald Trump had directed towards him, stating, “with so many people in the place it’s just kind of an honor to be included in the comments, good or bad, and I’ll accept that. I’ve made a commitment not to get into a nitpicking with other candidates. Some people will say something about me, and I blow it off and let it go. I’m not going to engage in evaluating the other candidates.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett