How to Talk About Immigration Like a GOP Front-Runner

Fight disinformation. Get a daily recap of the facts that matter. Sign up for the free Mother Jones newsletter.

This how Texas Gov. Rick Perry talked about immigration prior to his free fall in the polls:

But if you say that we should not educate children who have come into our state for no other reason than they’ve been brought there by no fault of their own, I don’t think you have a heart. We need to be educating these children, because they will become a drag on our society.

This is how Herman Cain, the current front-runner for the GOP nomination, at least according to opinion polls, talks about immigration :

Mr. Cain, speaking at a Tea Party-sponsored rally in Tennessee, made some of his most pointed remarks yet on the issue. He said he might use military troops “with real guns and real bullets” to stop intruders. Responding to anyone who might consider his remarks “insensitive,” Mr. Cain said the real fault lies with some illegal immigrants. “It’s insensitive for them to be killing our citizens, killing our border agents,” he said. “That’s what’s insensitive. And that mess has to stop.”

That’s in addition to the electrified fence that would kill anyone who would try to cross. Cain later said he was kidding—at least about the electrified wall of death part.

To reiterate: To talk like a GOP front-runner, DO “joke” about killing undocumented immigrants in your stump speeches. DO NOT suggest they should be treated with compassion, particularly when they had no choice in coming here in the first place.

Any questions?

We Recommend


Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.


Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.