... put a sock in Democratic Party chief Jason Willett? If you're going to call a candidate extreme, it helps to list some reasons. It DOESN'T help to suggest that you're in agreement with a Jim Holt on one of his most extreme positions -- immigration. Or to undercut any number of your party's candidates by pandering to the rural school lobby. Gil Baker, the Republican chairman, empty though he is, seemed positively statesmanlike by comparison. And Mike Huckabee's silence on Jim Holt remains the most eloquent statement of all. Keep biting that tongue, governor.
UPDATE: And, on the jump, the Democratic Party fires back at the drubbing it's been taking on this issue all day.
REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN SAYS HUTCHINSON OUT OF TOUCH WITH ‘VAST MAJORITY OF INDIVIDUALS’ ON IMMIGRATION
LITTLE ROCK -- Today, the Republican Party of Arkansas highlighted state Chairman Gilbert Baker’s statements in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette emphasizing that Republican gubernatorial candidate Asa Hutchinson is out of touch with “a vast majority of individuals” who feel not enough has been done to strengthen the American borders
“‘The Democrat line seems to be that we [the RPA] have this extremist ticket,” …. ‘Are we talking about being strong on illegal immigration? I don't see that as being extreme at all. That's a view held by a vast majority of individuals,’” Baker said in today’s Democrat-Gazette, republished in the state party e-mail.
“Mainstream Arkansas believes in strong border security. Too bad Asa Hutchinson weakened border security and enforcement and added enough illegal immigrants to this country each month to fill the entire city of Hot Springs, Arkansas,” Democratic Party of Arkansas Chairman Jason Willett said of Hutchinson’s two years at the Department of Homeland Security, responsible for border control.
The RPA’s email began: “Chairman Jason Willett needs to realize that you cannot make outlandish claims without any facts to back them.”
The following information is provided with the intention that Chairman Baker can now see that Hutchinson is out of touch with what Baker himself referred to as a “view held by a vast majority of individuals.”
Securing the Border
In the 25 months Asa Hutchinson was responsible for border security, the number of illegal immigrants in the country increased by more than a million based on data from the Pew Hispanic Center. That is more than 9,300 illegal immigrants per week, the equivalent of adding a new city of illegal immigrants the size of Hot Springs, Arkansas, every month.
Returning Illegal Immigrants
“Asa Hutchinson, the Department of Homeland Security’s man in charge of border security, shut down a border-patrol initiative to catch illegal aliens. Reason? It was catching too many illegal aliens,” John O’Sullivan published in the National Review. (National Review, 12/13/04)
In June 2004, a Border Patrol “12-member mobile patrol group arrested more than 400 people on the streets of cities in San Bernardino, Riverside and Orange Counties. The arrests, dubbed ‘sweeps’ by the community, stopped after Asa Hutchinson, former undersecretary of border and transportation security, said the group acted within its legal authority but without prior approval from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Headquarters.” (Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 05/12/05)
Holding employers responsible for hiring illegal immigrants
Under Asa Hutchinson’s management, there was a 99.3 percent drop in the attempts to take action against employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants.
Under Asa Huchinson’s watch in 2004, immigration authorities issued penalty notices to only three companies. (The New York Times, 3/05/06) But in Fiscal Year 1999, the federal government attempted to take action against 417 employers for the hiring of illegal immigrants. [Government Accountability Office, “Weaknesses Hinder Employment Verification and Worksite Enforcement Efforts,” Report GAO-05-813, 08/31/05]