What Chris Geidner of Buzz Feed didn't ask Tom Ridge about immigration

Former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge recently spoke with Chris Geidner of BuzzFeed to promote, among other things, comprehensive immigration reform. This won't come as much of a surprise: promoting "reform" (aka amnesty) isn't a rare occurrence by George W Bush cronies.

The Geidner post [1] reads more like a transcript of a Ridge speech than anything approaching an interview; in the post, Geidner doesn't call Ridge on any of the downsides of what he says or his misleading statements. So, I'll quote the immigration parts of the post, followed by just some of the questions Geidner didn't ask:

Former Bush administration Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge has a simple message for opponents of comprehensive immigration reform within the Republican Party - you're "flat, dead wrong."

"I think there's an art to governing and part of the art of governing is recognizing the reality as it exists, not as you want it to be. Part of the reality is that some people on my side of the aisle do not understand is that even if you can identify those 10 or 12 million illegals here, you're not going to round them up, put them on 747s, and send them home," Ridge said in an interview with BuzzFeed.

"Number two, by and large, 99.9 percent of them, I think, have been basically - they are trying to be responsible, thoughtful, law-abiding people and a very, very few small minority are breaking the law. And, by the way, they're also contributing in many different ways to the success and the diversity of the economy," Ridge said of undocumented workers in the United States.

As DHS Secretary, he said, "I was down in a lot of those detention centers along the southern border, in Arizona and New Mexico. I don't find those people coming across the border trying to harm us. They're trying to take advantage of what we've always stood for, and that's opportunity, economic and political freedom," the former Pennsylvania Governor said.

..."I thought about it a long time, not just as the secretary overseeing the immigration and citizenship service, I thought about it a long time as a social issue, an economic issue, a political issue," Ridge said, explaining that he inadvertently outlined at a town hall meeting what amounted to what he called the "Ridge plan" for reform.

In 2003, The New York Times reported that Ridge "called for millions of illegal immigrants in the United States to be given some sort of legal status short of citizenship" at the town hall meeting.

"A couple hours later," Ridge said, "we got a call from the White House saying, 'What the hell you doing laying out an immigration plan when the president hasn't laid out his yet?'"

As to why he supports reform, Ridge bluntly said, "At the end of the day, I think we're just flat, dead wrong on the issue. We're not sending them back, I don't know why we can't reach a compromise. And, by the way, 'compromise' is not a dirty word in my lexicon, it's part of the art of governing."

1. Ridge probably isn't as bad as Krusty the Klown, but he's done things like endorse a pocket knife, worked for Albania, get stock options from a supplier to the DHS, and served on the board of Home Depot. Nowadays he heads "Ridge Global", a lobbying and consulting firm. Who he works for isn't known (sourcewatch . org/index.php/Ridge_Global), but an excellent question for Geidner to have asked is if any of his clients would profit from mass immigration or "reform".

2. Regarding the "747" line, Geidner should have pointed out to Ridge that he was engaging in the deportations false choice; see the link for the details. Ridge falsely claims we have to choose between mass deportations and amnesty, ignoring attrition or other possibilities. Geidner should have asked Ridge if there are any other options he can think of, and to explain why he objects to those other options. Obviously, that didn't happen.

3. Geidner should have asked Ridge what part of illegal he doesn't understand. By entering or remaining here against our laws, illegal aliens are not being "law-abiding". Many work using falsified documents, many use others' social security numbers, and so on. None of those are "law-abiding". Geidner could have asked Ridge how "law-abiding" it is to pay a coyote thousands of dollars to smuggle you into the U.S. and then to buy fake documents, but obviously Geidner didn't. Geidner could have asked Ridge whether it's good for U.S. culture to have millions of people in the U.S. who've shown little regard for some of our laws. Further, illegal immigration happens because politicians allow it to happen for one corrupt reason or another: either because they're paid off in one way or another, or because they want to obtain racial power. Geidner could have asked Ridge if he agrees that massive illegal immigration is a clear indicator of massive political corruption, and - while most of that might be legal - whether it's good for the U.S.

4. By the "diversity of the economy", Ridge probably means something along the lines of the jobs Americans wont do canard (complementary employment). With millions of Americans unemployed or out of the job market entirely, clearly we don't need much more "diversity of the economy". Geidner didn't call Ridge on that aspect, such as the impact on lower-skilled Americans if we ramped up immigration enforcement. Geidner didn't ask Ridge what objections he'd have to a pro-American jobs plan. Geidner could have posed something like this simple question or this one to Ridge, but didn't.

5. Ridge claims "I don't find those people coming across the border trying to harm us." It's true that few cross the border with the explicit goal of harming Americans, but those few are not people who should be allowed into the U.S.: criminals (organized or not) and terrorists. See immigration terrorism. But, whether they intend to do so or not, those who cross the border do harm Americans: driving down wages, increasing social spending, giving additional power to the far-left, and so on. Obviously, Geidner didn't call Ridge on his at least questionable statement. And, it's not very likely that large numbers of illegal aliens are here for "political freedom": there are legal programs for those who legitimately fear political prosecution in their home countries. Does Ridge have a survey done of illegal aliens showing "political freedom" being one of their main reasons for coming here?

Please take a moment to make the points on this page to those who talk with @ChrisGeidner, and ask Geidner when he'll schedule a follow-up with Ridge where he'll be a journalist instead of a transcriptionist.

[1] buzzfeed . com/chrisgeidner/