Department of Preening Editorials (4): "Self-Deportation", a Misused and Misunderstood Term

By Stanley Renshon and Stanley Renshon on October 4, 2012
Editor's Note: View a listing of the entire series

The Washington Post's tendentious and inaccurate editorial calls Mitt Romney's immigration views incoherent.

They are not; they are entirely consistent, and what's more, if you think about them clearly and carefully they make very good logical and policy sense.

In keeping with the editorial's muddled logic, Romney is criticized for both not having any immigration policy views and at the same time for the policy views he expresses.

Here is Romney expressing the views that he supposedly doesn't have:

Mitt Romney:
 Well, we're not going to — we're not going to round up people around the country and deport them. That's not — I said my primary campaign time and, again, we're not going to round up 12 million people that include the kids and the parents, and have everyone deported. Our system isn't to deport people. We need to provide a long-term solution and I described the fact that I would be in support of a program that said the people who serve in our military could be permanent residents of the United States….

Maria Salinas: 
So that's your answer? You're going to allow them to stay?

Mitt Romney: 
I'm not going to be rounding people up and deporting them from the country. We're going to put in place a permanent solution and, unlike the president, when I am president I will actually do what I promise. I will put in an immigration reform plan that solves this issue.

Well, that sounds like a straightforward, unequivocal policy statement, and it is. So it would certainly seem that this clearly expressed view is part of what he would bring to any immigration policy if he won office.

Here is how the Post editorial characterized that strong policy view: "Mr. Romney did say what he wouldn't do — he wouldn't round up and deport 11 million undocumented immigrants."

Isn't a strong statement of what you won't do an affirmative policy statement, even if the idea of "mass deportations" is mostly a fever-swamp fantasy of some and a frequent talking point of those who wish to press the idea that there is no alternative to mass amnesty?

It is essential to remember that the key to a "fair, cogent, and economically rational" immigration policy, the Post's statement of the desirable, will involve some form of work status verification.

Controlling the borders alone won't work because a large number of illegal aliens overstay their visas. Whatever new policies may emerge regarding skilled and unskilled workers, it will be essential to ensure that all those working are legally entitled to do so.

Unless we wish to open up all of our federal, state, and local welfare programs to illegal aliens so that they can live here without employment, they will have to find work to do so. And if an effective worker verification program is in place, it will be very difficult to do so without legal standing.

So is the Post against a worker verification program? No, apparently not. It has reported favorably on the findings of several think tank reform proposals that call for workplace verification.

Since the Post has in the past supported workplace verification procedures, is it now trying to pull off a reverse John Kerry by opposing workplace verification now, but planning on supporting it in the future?

If so, the only difference between Romney and the Post is that he is being more honest.

Next: Department of Preening Editorials (5): Verification is THE Key Element of immigration Reform