Thursday, February 02, 2006

The Blush is Off the Rose

Jason Atkinson, the candidate I am supporting for Governor of Oregon, was interviewed on the Lars Larson Show today. During the interview, it appears he came out in support of President Bush's Guest Worker Program, a program that would grant amnesty to thousands of illegal immigrants. The interview is causing huge ripples in the Conservative community here in Oregon, to the point where many of his supporters, especially in the blogosphere, are considering withdrawing their support.

I'm disappointed in Jason's stand on this, and disagree with him. But while this is a very important issue, I don't think it's time for me to jump ship yet.

First of all, from what I'm hearing, it's possible that Jason's position is misunderstood. The interview was live, and apparently Jason got a little flustered when his initial comments were jumped on. That's regrettable, but it isn't the lasdt word on the subject. I have it on good authority that he does not support amnesty for illegals already here, but rather supports programs that would make it easier for worthy applicants to gain LEGAL entry into the country. If that's the case, I'm 100% in agreement with him. So I believe it's important for Oregon conservatives to hold their fire until Jason clarifies his stand on the issue.

Secondly, even if he wasn't misunderstood, and does support amnesty, it's possible that we can convice Jason to rethink his position on this issue. And we need to remember, that while the opinion of a governor is important, the power to grant amnesty from deportation to illegals lies with the federal government, not with the State of Oregon. Even if we can't convince Jason to rethink his position, if we can sway the President and Congress, we'll still have won. And given Jason's stand regarding repsecting the rule of law, as demonstrated in his commitment to uphold by try to repeal Oregon's Right to Die law, I suspect that he'll abide by the law, even if he disagrees with it. That's an important point.

Finally, while this is an important issue, perhaps the most important issue facing Oregon, it's not the ONLY important issue, and in the overall scheme of things, I agree with Jason and disagree with his opponents on so many other points, that as much as this disappoints me, it doesn't outweigh the other issues.

So I have to conclude that while this TEMPERS my support, it does not cause Jason to lose it. I would encourage Jason to reconsider his position, or if we misunderstood it, to restate it.

C'mon, Jason, let's see how good you are with tarnish remover.


Last night I, as well as several other bloggers, including Coyote at NW Republican, received an email response from Matt Evans, Jason's campaign manager. Here's what he said:

I think it’s important that the truth lead any discussion of this or any issue. Here’s the truth: Despite what some have said, the President’s plan does not provide amnesty for illegals currently in the country. In fact, it is Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) (who is not carrying the President’s plan), who wants to allow illegals currently in the country to apply as a guestworker. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) has a plan that would force illegals to return to their home countries before applying as a guestworker. The President is trying to broker a compromise between these competing plans but has said that he will not support a final plan that includes any kind of amnesty for individuals currently in this country illegally.

Let’s be clear on another point, if somehow the final federal plan does include the ability for a person currently in this nation illegally to stay here for any reason, as a guestworker or otherwise, Jason Atkinson will oppose that plan, and do so vocally. There should be no rewards for breaking the law.

If a federal plan similar to Sen. Chambliss’ can be implemented, and Jason Atkinson is elected Governor of Oregon, the results would be:

1) The borders would be closed and the flow of illegal aliens would slow dramatically and maybe entirely.

2) Federal and state agents would check employers to ensure that all their employees are legally in the country. They would either have to have proof of citizenship or proof of guestworker status or have other legal immigration status.

3) Illegal workers currently in Oregon would lose their jobs as their employers would face heavy penalties and stepped-up federal and state enforcement.

4) Illegal aliens would lose their ability to gain state-funded benefits (unemployment, health care, welfare, etc).

5) Illegal aliens would lose their ability to obtain an Oregon Driver’s license.

6) Illegal aliens would lose their ability to vote.

7) Illegal aliens would have little choice but to return to their home country as they would be unemployable and could not receive any government assistance.

I trust this clears the decks on this issue. We would appreciate everyone clarifying this for their audience, in particular noting the truth that neither the President nor Jason Atkinson supports amnesty for those currently in this country illegally.

Matt Evans

Campaign Manager

That clarifies things nicely for me, thanks, Matt.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not against immigration. I am against ILLEGAL immigration. I believe that there should be a method for people who are willing to abide by the laws of this country to seek to come here LEGALLY. As long as any "Guest Worker" program does not extend amnesty to people currently here illegally, but requires that they apply from within their own country, and as long as it requires that they pay taxes just like any American would, I have no problem with it. And if Jason stays true to what Matt just said, he still has my support.

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