Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson says dependence on cheap labor and "misplaced compassion" for illegal aliens are to blame for America’s immigration problems. During an appearance tonight in Davenport, Thompson said economic incentives like the in-state college tuition break rival Mike Huckabee extended in Arkansas are too much of a "lure" to illegal immigrants.
"We’re not going to deal with this problem and do away with it over night," Thompson said. "…But…if people can’t come back and forth with impunity and be rewarded once they get here by having public services payed for by people who are obeying the law and working and providing the tax money, then we will have enforcement by attrition."
Thompson drew applause from the crowd when he criticized the practice of granting U.S. citizenship to the children of illegal immigrants if those children are born on American soil. "The courts have held for a long, long time in this country that anybody born here is an American citizen. It creates a special constitutional issue for us. The real problem is the chain migration that comes from that," Thompson said. "I think that people here are illegal need to go back whether they have children here or not and that’s their decision to make."
According to Thompson, politicians can regain the trust of the American people by tackling the illegal immigration problem. Thompson’s focus on the issue came at an interesting moment, as Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo has scheduled a news conference Thursday afternoon to make a major campaign announcement. The speculation is that Tancredo will drop out of the race, perhaps throwing his support to another candidate and Tancredo has repeatedly called for a crackdown on illegal immigration.