The Atlantic – Haley Barbour on immigration

Skip ahead to 5:50 in the video to see the question on immigration and Barbour’s remarks. Here’s what Barbour said:

Let me just tell you, I’ve had a different experience than perhaps some other governors. I don’t know where we would have been in Mississippi after Katrina if it hadn’t been for the Spanish speakers that came in to help rebuild, and there’s no doubt in my mind that some of them weren’t here legally. Some of them were, some of them weren’t. But they came in, they looked for the work–if they hadn’t been there, if they hadn’t come and stayed for a few months or a couple of years, we would be way, way, way behind where we are now.

Every country–I don’t care if it’s the United States of America or Papua New Guinea, every country has gotta have a secure border. If you can’t secure your border, you’re not much of a country, and we’ve gotta secure our border. But we’ve gotta do so with the recognition that even in our lifetime we’re gonna have a labor shortage in the United States. We don’t want to be like Japan, where the aging population is supported by fewer and fewer and fewer and fewer.

So there’s gotta be a way–a) we gotta secure the border, but b) we’ve got to work through how are we gonna make sure we’ve got the labor we need in the United States. H1B visas–a huge, huge thing. My idea is everybody from Stanford who’s from India who gets a PhD, we oughtta stamp citizenship on his diploma, so instead of him going back to India and starting a business that employs 1,800 people, that he’ll start a business that employs 1,800 people in Des Moines Iowa instead of India. A lot of this is just common sense, and common sense tells us we’re not gonna take ten or twelve or fourteen million people and put them in jail and deport them. We’re not gonna do it, and we need to quit–some of the people need to quit acting like we are, and let’s talk about real solutions.

The Atlantic
9/2/10