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Presidential Candidate and Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson on Immigration Policy

by Wes Messamore, published

Gary Johnson excluded from national discussion on immigration policy

On our report about Mitt Romney and Barack Obama's "dueling addresses" on immigration policy to Latino leaders at a conference in Florida, one commenter pointed out the exclusion of Libertarian Party presidential candidate, Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico from the discussion:

"That’s right, exclude the guy with the best record and a 2 term governor of the of the most Latino state:"

This is a fantastic point. These twin addresses before the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials are being treated as a defining moment for where the parties and their presidential candidates stand on immigration policy and what they plan to do about it moving forward. But with Massachusetts governor and Republican Party candidate Mitt Romney slated to address the conference Thursday, and Democratic President Barack Obama, a former US Senator from Illinois, scheduled to speak Friday, it would seem that our national discussion of immigration policy has no room for a voice outside of the two party establishment.

But if Americans are unhappy with immigration policy, which has been handled by the two party establishment for over a century, why should they care what the two major parties have to say about immigration now, and why should they expect effective and satisfactory reforms from the very institutions that gave us an immigration policy that everyone believes needs reforming? Their credibility is damaged and independent voters should say so and act accordingly. One third party candidate's credibility is strong enough to at least warrant inclusion in this important public policy debate, and that candidate is Gov. Gary Johnson.


The case for including Gary Johnson in the immigration policy discussion

The media, voters, and political leaders (like those in NALEO) should give Gary Johnson's take on immigration policy equal weight to that of Barack Obama's or Mitt Romney's for three reasons:

1) Gary Johnson is confirmed to be on the general election ballot for president this November in all 50 states. The Libertarian Party has the numbers and energy, and has done the necessary work for this kind of ballot access. That merits our full and fair consideration. When voters in any state go to the ballot booth, every single one will have the equal choice to vote for Obama, Romney, or Johnson for president. Whether the two parties and their cheerleaders like it or not, that means a third party in this country is serious enough for its presidential candidate to be treated as a serious option for voters and worth examining and listening to at least as much as the presidential candidates of the two main parties.

2) From 1995 - 2003, Gary Johnson was a two-term Republican governor of New Mexico, a 2-1 Democratic border state with the highest percentage of Hispanics and Latinos of any state. Johnson is not a sideshow candidate. He's arguably the most credible and well-credentialed candidate the Libertarian Party has ever nominated and one of the most credible and well-credentialed of any third party presidential candidates in recent US history. He was the governor of a border state for eight years, a state with "Mexico" in its name, a state with a "majority minority" demographic makeup, with half the population of Latino or Hispanic ancestry. Should voters, journalists, and politicians be interested in knowing what Gary Johnson might have to say about immigration policy?

3) Gary Johnson's views and actions on immigration policy are different enough from those of Obama and Romney to merit our equal consideration. Johnson has something fresh to bring to the conversation. While both Obama and Romney promise to further complicate immigration policy with more rules, policies, projects, and programs, Johnson's goal is to make it simpler: "A rational immigration policy, to me, involves making it easy for an individual to come over to the United States and work, make it easy for an individual to get a work visa."


Gary Johnson's platform on immigration policy

So because Gary Johnson's views on immigration policy are being excluded from this week's national conversation even though they really merit equal voter and media attention, I have outlined and presented them in detail below:

From Gary Johnson's immigration issue page on his campaign website, word for word:

The U.S. must adopt two approaches:

#1 Simplify Legal Immigration LEGAL IMMIGRATION STRENGTHENS AMERICA'S ECONOMY AND THE social fabric. It will also strengthen our relationship with our southern neighbor Mexico.
  • It should be easier for a potential immigrant to get a work visa. Potential immigrants should pass a background check, and then be issued a Social Security card, which would allow them to pay income, payroll, and all other taxes workers pay.
  • There should be a two-year grace period for illegal immigrants to attain work visas so they can continue contributing to America and begin taking part in American society openly.
  • Immigrants with temporary work visas should have access to the normal procedures for gaining permanent status and citizenship, and should be able to bring their families to the U.S. after demonstrating ability to support them financially.
#2 Tackle Illegal Immigration REAL BORDER SECURITY MEANS KNOWING WHO IS coming here and why.
  • Legalizing marijuana will reduce border violence and illegal immigration significantly, decreasing the U.S.-Mexican drug trade by 70 percent. Without a monopoly on the marijuana trade, Mexican drug cartels will have vastly diminished incentives to violate U.S. law and risk capture.
  • Streamline the legal immigration process to reduce illegal immigration and allow the U.S. to know who enters the country and for what reasons.
  • Enforce a 'one strike, you're out' rule for immigrants who circumvent the streamlined work visa process.


Gary Johnson speaking about immigration policy in interviews:

June 2010 interview on New Mexico gubernatorial race


2011 Our America Initiative issue video


June 2011 interview with National Review Online

Please discuss! What do you think about immigration policy? What do you think about Gary Johnson's positions on immigration policy? How do they differ from those of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, and what do they have in common? Which do you agree with most and why?

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