Gov. Barbour Implicitly Criticizes GOP's Tough Talk On Immigration

September 01, 2010 5:28 pm ET — Matt Finkelstein

Gov. Haley Barbour

Earlier today, we highlighted part of an interview with Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS) posted at Human Events.  During the interview, Barbour — who is also the chairman of the Republican Governors Association (RGA) — walked the party line on a number of issues.  However, he departed sharply from the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been spreading throughout the Republican Party.   

Barbour explained that he is thankful for the immigrant workers who helped rebuild Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.  While acknowledging that we need to secure the border, Barbour said it's "common sense" that "we're not going to take 10 or 12 or 14 million people and put them in jail or deport them," adding that "some people need to quit acting like we are and let's talk about real solutions."

BARBOUR: I don't know where we would have been in Mississippi after Katrina if it hadn't been with the Spanish speakers that came in to help rebuild.  And there's no doubt in my mind some of them were here illegally.  Some of them were, some of them weren't.  But they came in, they looked for the work.  If they hadn't been there — if they hadn't come and stayed for a few months or a couple years — we would be way, way, way behind where we are now.  [...]

My idea is everybody from Stanford who's from India that gets a PhD, we oughta stamp citizenship on his diploma.  So instead of him going back to India and starting a business that employs 1,800 people, then he'll start a business that employs 1,800 people in Des Moines, Iowa, instead of India.  A lot of it is just common sense.  And common sense tell us we're not going to take 10 or 12 or 14 million people and put them in jail or deport them.  We're not gonna do it, and we need to quit — some people need to quit acting like we are and let's talk about real solutions. 

Barbour is right that rounding up immigrants and sending them home is not a real solution.  But his stance puts him at odds with many of the Republican Party's gubernatorial candidates in the upcoming elections who have made tough talk on immigration a central part of their campaigns:

Notably, while the RGA has endorsed Scott and Deal, it is reportedly steering clear of Maes.

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