ACU’s Cardenas to Malzberg: Immigration Debate Requires Candor, Compromise

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 07:36 PM

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Al Cardenas, chairman of the influential American Conservative Union, told veteran radio talk-show host Steve Malzberg on Wednesday that “candor is the best approach” in the debate over comprehensive immigration legislation.

“We’re all playing games with semantics — and that doesn’t help,” Cardenas told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV. “If you don’t have a valid set of paperwork for being here, you’re here illegally — whether it’s by crossing a border or because you came on a visa and overstayed it.”

The Malzberg show, which premiered on Monday, originates from New York and is broadcast by Newsmax Media Inc. It will be carried live on SiriusXM’s Channel 166 nationwide, and will soon air on major radio stations. The show can be seen live on Newsmax’s website.

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Because so many immigration plans have been announced in recent weeks — by Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators, even President Barack Obama himself — Cardenas said any final legislation must result from compromise.

“We’ve got, unfortunately, ipso facto amnesty because by the president’s executive fiat, we’re not enforcing the immigration laws in this country which is unfortunate,” Cardenas told Malzberg. “We also have an unfortunate outcome in the elections, where the president’s side has the White House and the majority of the Senate.

“As we try to achieve a bipartisan solution, we’re stuck with the changing dynamics of his executive order — but we also know that we have a Republican House. If there’s going to be a solution, then the parties have to compromise.

“But what we cannot do is compromise our principles to the point where we agree to something that’s going to come back in bite us in the hand again,” added Cardenas, whose organization is based in Washington. “We have a saying that says there ain’t no lesson in the second kick of a mule.”

He said that happened in 1986 when President Ronald Reagan granted amnesty to three million illegal aliens, as long as there was immigration reform and strong enforcement policies.

“The amnesty took place, but the rest didn’t — and, as a result, we’ve developed a magnet for multiplying our problem,” Cardenas said.

“Conservatives are, rightfully so, concerned about enforcement, and whatever proposal comes to the table, a prerequisite for a conservative is that there’s a solid plan that provides us with strict enforcement and a control of our borders.”

He told Malzberg that the best immigration bill will probably come out of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.

“We’re not going to kill this thing before it gets started. It’s not smart politically, and it’s not wise in terms of our future policy position,” Cardenas said. “But it is right to be skeptical — and it is right to be a watchdog and on guard.

“I would encourage the House to not be just reactive to a Senate bill. The political dynamics in the Senate are different. I would encourage the House to come up with its own bill. And then if there are differences, to try and settle them the right way during conference committee, but don’t let the Senate drive this full train.”

Cardenas added that the organization’s Conservative Political Action Conference, scheduled for March 14-16 in Washington, promises to an active session of strategic planning and vision-creating.

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Besides Rubio, other confirmed speakers include 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, former presidential candidate Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul.

More information is available at www.conservative.org.

“The encouraging sign is that there’s a lot of fight left in conservatives based on the registration information we’re receiving.”

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