Sarah Palin is certainly the leading candidate for the Republican nomination for President in 2012. With one glaring question that remains unanswered, "What is her position on immigration?"
Dozens of immigration activists have emailed me saying, "I won't support her until I know her position on immigration." While others have said, she supports John McCain on immigration; therefore, they are firmly against her running for President.
Until she makes a clear statement on the matter, all Republicans and immigration activists must make their best estimate about her position. However, there are a few considerations.
First, Alaska is not a part of the contiguous forty-eight states. Therefore, it is not subject to the same immigration pressures of both legal and illegal immigration that are those in the lower forty-eight. I doubt that there are illegal aliens hanging out on every street corner of every major town in Alaska waiting for work.
I doubt that Alaska residents are reading horror stories in their local papers of a drunk illegal driving through a stop sign and smashing into a car killing innocent Americans. Nor, do Alaskans experience a house next door with twenty illegal aliens playing music all night and parking on the front lawn.
Do Alaskans subject themselves to the "press one for English, press two for Spanish" every time they call a local company? I doubt it.
Therefore, I doubt that Gov. Sarah Palin or any other Alaskans have any in-going personal feelings or perceptions of illegal immigration.
Second, one has to understand that Gov. Sarah Palin was for the last two years Governor of the State of Alaska. Her job was the solving the problems of the State of Alaska, not solving the problems of the government of the United States. Her knowledge of issues such as social security, free trade, immigration or national defense, is not beyond what the average person in Alaska might know.
As stated above, the issue of illegal immigration probably is not on everyone's radarscope in Alaska.
Third, one has to take the comments Gov. Sarah Palin in context of being a vice-presidential nominee whose task is to support the presidential nominee. The task is to amplify, not disagree, with the presidential candidate.
In this context, she was certainly briefed by McCain's staff on the issues of immigration and what McCain's platform was saying. The platform seems reasonable if you were not informed about the issue and had no personal experience with it.
For immigration activists and Republicans in the lower forty-eight, McCain's position was simply a cover for his deep rooted convictions to grant amnesty to twenty million people and open the border for unlimited immigration into the United States.
In the course of an election, candidates do change their positions. In Connecticut in 2006, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, Alan Schlesinger, was not at the beginning a particular strong supporter of immigration control. Over the period of running he talked to dozens of local groups, they expressed their opinions and he changed his. Giving up on someone because they are not yet strongly on your side, without trying to change their opinion is not a wise thing to do.
Fourth, one has to take into consideration all the other actions of Gov. Sarah Palin and her personal convictions and project a bit how such a person will react when she finds out the facts on illegal immigration. Certainly, one would describe Gov. Sarah Palin as a patriotic American deeply concerned about the future of our country and interested in the welfare of its citizens.
The same cannot be said of Senator John McCain. For some unfathomable reason, he has more interest in the welfare of Mexicans living south of the border than the welfare of American living north of the border. His rabid dog support of open borders completely disregards the impact on the United States. His rabid dog support of free trade ignores the impact on U.S. workers. If John McCain had been elected, the United States would have had the most rabid anti-American in the White House since Woodrow Wilson.
Finally, if Gov. Sarah Palin has any interaction with citizens in the lower forty-eight such as town hall meetings, or open mike press interviews, her position on immigration is going to be the number one question. Until that is resolved, she is going to be in limbo would major portion of her supporters.
If her position is to control the border, enforce our immigration laws, jail employers of illegal aliens and drastically reduce legal immigration, she will have the whole immigration control movement behind her.
If the unlikely situation occurs where Gov. Palin does favor open borders, amnesty and "a path to citizenship," millions of supporters will walk away from her leaving a trail of tears.
I don't think this is going to happen. You betcha.
Paul Streitz was a Minuteman on the Arizona border in 2005. He is a co-founder of CT Citizens for Immigration Control and twice ran for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate in Connecticut. He is a co-founder of the 2012 Draft Sarah Committee, which is a registered Draft PAC with the Federal Election Commission (www.2012draftsarahcommittee.com).