Overall, I think Newt Gingrich has the best proposed program for reform in these turbulent times in the USA. His program for health transformation, with its focus on improving information flows, is brilliant and its implementation will make America hugely more competitive. The devil, however, is in the details; he is harping almost entirely on government "reform" for tracking "illegal" immigrants. I made my first financial contribution sometime back to American Solutions but I have decided not to donate anymore till I see more effort to promote his more positive agenda.
Lately, Gingrich has drawn a disingenuous analogy to convince people of his stand on immigration. He takes the example of Federal Express which is able to keep track of millions of packages. By contrast, the US government, according to him, makes excuses about tracing millions of undocumented immigrants. That amnesty for millions of undocumented immigrants is not justified. To see the faux-naïf, you have to only realize that customers voluntarily provide their information to Federal Express for their mutual economic benefit. Undocumented immigrants would disclose their information if they saw a benefit for themselves; an amnesty would do just that.
The administration of immigration is broken. This law is as unenforceable as the prohibition was in the past. The inspiration of the law is entirely political, a piece out of the third world. It does not take into consideration economics of employment. American farmers in California, for example, are finding it difficult to pick fruit from their fields and are switching to other crops that can be grown with less labor.
Newt Gingrich's analogy can be extended to bring into relief the pathologies of the current administration of immigration. If Federal Express decided not to accept packages from its French customers because they are anti-American, it is very likely that the French will hide their identity. The French customers will probably find a way to work around this restriction in Fedex policy; they will send packages to their friends in Britain who will in turn will help out by mailing the packages to the USA. It would then be hard for Fedex to know who is actually sending the packages.
Newt Gingrich is clearly pandering to his base. The far right has, historically, been averse to immigration. In the past, the motivation for opposing immigration from non-European countries was overtly racist. Not much has changed. Ann Coulter, the demagogue of the far right, laments increase in immigration from the third world. The world has changed and most countries in the former third world are now booming emerging economies. Large numbers of American companies want to locate in countries like India, Brazil and China to tap into their skilled labor force. You can't expect parochial minds from the back-of-beyond farm lands of mid-America, where Ann Coulter lives, to be aware of global transformations.
The current political controversies in America are reminiscent of the last days of Governor Pete Wilson in California. Far right rhetoric on immigration alienated the minorities who decided to become citizens and voted against him. Well, it did not help. The alternative was worse, an incompetent Gray Davis could not even hold on to power. Politics in California is so polarized that not much progress has been achieved even under Arnold.
Newt Gingrich will probably go the same way as Pete Wilson if he does not tone down the rhetoric on immigration. He will join the league of pygmies who are now bidding for the Presidency. The consequences will be dreadful.