2008 Mike Huckabee on Pakistan and the Border Fence
posted by December 28 at 15:49 PMon
Apologies for the long block quote, but this is quite a remarkable series of statements (and misstatements) from the man who is currently leading all other Republicans in Iowa:
DES MOINES — Mike Huckabee used the volatile situation in Pakistan Friday to make an argument for building a fence on the American border with Mexico and found himself trying to explain a series of remarks about Pakistanis and their nation.
On Thursday night he told reporters in Orlando, Fla.: “We ought to have an immediate, very clear monitoring of our borders and particularly to make sure if there’s any unusual activity of Pakistanis coming into the country.”
On Friday, in Pella, Iowa, he expanded on those remarks.
“When I say single them out I am making the observation that we have more Pakistani illegals coming across our border than all other nationalities except those immediately south of the border,” he told reporters in Pella. “And in light of what is happening in Pakistan it ought to give us pause as to why are so many illegals coming across these borders.”
In fact, far more illegal immigrants come from the Philippines, Korea, China and Vietnam, according to recent estimates from the Department of Homeland Security.
Asked how a border fence would help keep out Pakistani immigrants, Mr. Huckabee argued that airplane security was already strong, but that security at the southern United States border was dangerously weak.
“The fact is that the immigration issue is not so much about people coming to pick lettuce or make beds, it’s about someone coming with a shoulder-fired missile,” he said.
The sudden emergency in Pakistan and Mr. Huckabee’s response come at a time when he has come under increasing scrutiny from opponents for his lack of fluency in foreign policy issues, and the situation in Pakistan appeared to have challenged him.
“We have seen what happens in the Musharraf government,” Mr. Huckabee said on MSNBC. “He has told us he does not have enough control of those eastern borders near Afghanistan to be able go after the terrorists. But on the other hand, did he not want us going in, so what do we do?” Those borders are actually on the west, not the east.
Further, he offered an Orlando crowd his “apologies for what has happened in Pakistan.” His aides said later that he meant to say “sympathies.” He also said he was worried about martial law “continuing” in Pakistan, although Mr. Musharraf lifted the state of emergency on Dec. 15. His campaign told CBS News that his statement was not a blunder.