Did Ben Carson Just Propose Amnesty?

“[L]et’s say we get [the borders] sealed, because certainly in a Carson administration that would be done within the first year. You also turn off the spigot that dispenses the goodies, so that people don’t have any incentive to come here.

Then those who are here, we have to recognize that we can’t just round them up, but we can give them an opportunity to register. I would give them a six-month period.

If they register, and if they have a pristine record, they haven’t been causing problems, I would give them an opportunity to become guest workers — not citizens, not voting people, not people who get goodies. I think that would be a fair way to do it.

In terms of them becoming citizens later on down the road if they’ve done things the right way, we the American people will decide what the criteria for that ought to be.”

That was Dr. Ben outlining his proposal for dealing with illegal immigration on Face the Nation.

Candidates like to talk about securing the border the same way I talk about cleaning my shower, as though it’s a simple task that we just haven’t gotten around to yet.  I’ll believe it when I see it.

Carson is right when he says that “we have to recognize that we can’t just round them up,” but the Right tends to not like that kind of talk.  They prefer the guy who tells them he’s going to deport everybody without saying how it could be done or where the money is going to come from.

What stands out about this proposal is all this talk about “registering” and then becoming a “guest worker” if you’ve done everything right, and then later maybe, possibly having a legal path to citizenship.  I swear I’ve heard something like this before.  It was one of the most significant proposals of W’s presidency and it’s mostly been forgotten, probably because Conservatives in Congress were not having it.

The Republicans have generally called anything that doesn’t involve mass deportation a form of “amnesty.”  So this is actually a pretty bold proposal from Carson.  I’m not sure it would be constitutional, but if a Republican is in the White House you have to wonder if anyone would actually challenge it.

If we’re going to reform immigration policy in a substantive way it probably needs to be done by a Republican president.  The Right would never let a Democrat get away with a proposal like this.

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