Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio) made his first trip to Iowa this week in 16 years. He spoke at the Greater Des Moines Partnership luncheon on Wednesday and held a Q&A session after his remarks. He was asked about immigration, and I was surprised by the response from the group after his answer:
Look we are not going to ship all of these people out, but they broke, they ditched the line and they are going to have to pay a penalty. And we are going to have to make sure they haven’t engaged in illegal activity, and we are going to have to protect our border. I mean the idea that we are not protecting our border would be like me coming into your house tonight right? You ought to control your own home, we ought to control our country. At the same time we are not going to just take 12 million people and just say ‘you’re out of here’…
So I think we need the Congress to work together to resolve this immigration thing, and they have got to stop fighting all the time and get something done here. The problem when you fight all of the time nothing gets resolved. My view is should they become citizens? I wouldn’t favor that, but I said I wouldn’t take it off the board because if you are going to solve this problem you are going to have to get both parties involved. You understand that one political party, in most cases, can not solve major problems. It just doesn’t work that way.
He said on all major issues it takes bipartisanship and people need to realize people can’t be pure ideologues and partisans, they need to realize they are Americans. “I like to say that the Republican Party is my vehicle, and not my master. They aren’t going to tell me what to do.”
On the issue of immigration he said, “We have got to get things moving on this and we have to get it done soon.” He outlined his steps for immigration reform – protect the border, find out who the illegal immigrants are and make them register, if they are law abiding they can stay and probably pay a penalty.
He said after all of those things we’ll be in a much better position with immigration.
The audience erupted with applause after he gave his answer. This group may not have been all Republican, but it seems as though a shift has taken place on this issue.