December 28th, 2007
11:30 AM ET
9 years ago

Huckabee takes aim at Pakistani illegals

(CNN) - Mike Huckabee appears to have combined two hot-button issues on the Iowa campaign trail: Pakistani unrest and illegal immigration.

Thursday night, the former Arkansas governor told CNN that the crisis in Pakistan wasn’t just an international concern: “Domestically, we need to protect our borders with Pakistanis coming into the country,” he said.

Friday morning, the Republican presidential candidate elaborated on the point, telling CNN’s Dana Bash that 660 Pakistanis entered the country illegally last year, more than any other nationality other than those south of the border. When asked for the source of the statistic, Huckabee appeared unsure, telling a reporter that “those are numbers that I got today from a briefing, and I believe they are CIA and immigration numbers.” The Huckabee campaign later said the figure came from a newspaper report.

The number of illegal immigrants from Pakistan deported or apprehended was 721, according to the Department of Homeland Security. In 2005, the nation did not make the list of the top 10 sources of illegal immigrants. The previous year, they were the last country listed, but no specific numbers were given.

Illegal immigration is a top concern for GOP caucus goers in Iowa, according to most recent polls.

UPDATE: A senior Huckabee campaign official tells CNN that the figure Huckabee cited - 660 illegal Pakistanis in the US - came from a March, 2006 article in the Denver Post. CNN Homeland Security Correspondent Jeanne Meserve is told by a government source that if you add up the number of Pakistanis turned away at the border and apprehended, the figure is somewhere close to 660. But it is impossible to know how many entered the country undetected.

Related: Foreign policy gaffes plague Huckabee

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand and Dana Bash


Filed under: Mike Huckabee
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Steve Blaine Washington

    Seems Huckabee better review his briefing statements from his staff before
    opening his mouth. Lately every time he opens his Mouth he puts his foot in it.

    December 28, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. Jarod, Durham, NC

    And thus the implosion of Mike Huckabee is born! So if I get what you are saying Mike, it's ok to turn your own state into a magnet state for Illegal Mexicans and then completely flip-flop on your position when running for POTUS, but "America had best watch out for those Pakistanis"?

    From Wikipedia – A "flip-flop" (used mostly in the United States) or a U-turn (used in the United Kingdom) is a sudden real or apparent change of policy or opinion, while trying to claim that both positions are consistent with each other. Usually it will occur during the period prior to an election in order to maximize the candidate's popularity. (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip-flop_%28politics%29)

    Huckabee Flip-Flops on Immigration

    What His Policy Was as Governor:

    "When he was governor, Huckabee held the following positions on illegal immigration: He supported higher education benefits for children of illegal immigrants, opposed a federal roundup of illegals from his state in 2005, opposed a 2001 bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in the state, and in 2001, a member of his administration pushed for legislation to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants." (from http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200712/POL20071204b.html)

    http://www.alipac.us/article-2786-thread-1-0.html
    http://www.townhall.com/news/politics-elections/2007/12/27/huckabee_adopts_new_tone_on_immigration
    http://arkjournal.com/2007/11/newsflash-mike-huckabee-supported-bill.html

    What He Says Now:

    I oppose giving driver's licenses to illegals and supports legislation to prevent states from doing so. In 2005, I signed legislation that prevents illegals in Arkansas from getting driver's licenses. I oppose and will not tolerate employers who hire illegals. They must be punished with fines and penalties so large that they will see it is not worth the risk. (from http://www.mikehuckabee.com/?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=4)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lNJCN4Gpwk – Huckabee Backed Scholarships For Illegal Immigrants

    Tancredo and Hunter have been working on this for years. Guess who Tancredo just endorsed? Answer: wasn't Mike

    Sidenote:

    I recently had the privilege of working with someone from Pakistan and found them to be hard-working, ethical, and wonderful to work around. I add this merely to point out that not everyone on the Republican side is a pinhead as Mike has so eloquently demonstrated.

    December 28, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Jarod, Durham, NC

    And thus the implosion of Mike Huckabee is born! So if I get what you are saying Mike, it's ok to turn your own state into a magnet state for Illegal Mexicans and then completely flip-flop on your position when running for POTUS, but "America had best watch out for those Pakistanis"?

    From Wikipedia – A "flip-flop" (used mostly in the United States) or a U-turn (used in the United Kingdom) is a sudden real or apparent change of policy or opinion, while trying to claim that both positions are consistent with each other. Usually it will occur during the period prior to an election in order to maximize the candidate's popularity.
    (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flip-flop_%28politics%29)

    Huckabee Flip-Flops on Immigration

    What His Policy Was as Governor:

    "When he was governor, Huckabee held the following positions on illegal immigration: He supported higher education benefits for children of illegal immigrants, opposed a federal roundup of illegals from his state in 2005, opposed a 2001 bill requiring proof of citizenship to vote in the state, and in 2001, a member of his administration pushed for legislation to grant driver's licenses to illegal immigrants."
    (from http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewPolitics.asp?Page=/Politics/archive/200712/POL20071204b.html)

    http://www.alipac.us/article-2786-thread-1-0.html
    http://arkjournal.com/2007/11/newsflash-mike-huckabee-supported-bill.html

    What He Says Now:

    I oppose giving driver's licenses to illegals and supports legislation to prevent states from doing so. In 2005, I signed legislation that prevents illegals in Arkansas from getting driver's licenses. I oppose and will not tolerate employers
    who hire illegals. They must be punished with fines and penalties so large that they will see it is not worth the risk.
    (from http://www.mikehuckabee.com/?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=4)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-lNJCN4Gpwk – Huckabee Backed Scholarships For Illegal Immigrants

    Tancredo and Hunter have been working on this for years. Guess who Tancredo just endorsed? Answer: wasn't Mike

    Sidenote:

    I recently had the privilege of working with someone from Pakistan and found them to be hard-working, ethical, and wonderful to work around. I add this merely to point out that not everyone on the Republican side is a pinhead as Mike has so eloquently demonstrated.

    December 28, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  4. Tracy Jones, FL

    Two words: clue less

    December 28, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. Erica Atlanta, Ga

    Wow, he's already lying. I think the aftermath of the current liar in office is enough for American society for the next 100 years. Mike will not have my vote.

    December 28, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Larry

    ....entered the country illegally last year, more than any other nationality other than those south of the border.

    Just say it. Mexicans.

    December 28, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. Jon B Olathe KS

    Yeah I'm pretty sure that 660 illegal Pakistani's are a real threat to American jobs...

    But with Huckabee's "Touchback" immigration policy all they need to do is fly home for a day and return as American citizens.

    This almost makes my pity Huckabee to the point of donating to his campaign so he cn hire some competent staffers so he doesn't look like he has zero understanding of the world and foreign policy...it worked for slick willie...

    December 28, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Jon, Palo Alto, CA

    Mr Huckabee is an illiterate in a spelling bee. Way out of his league.

    December 28, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  9. Raman, Plano TX

    Not only Pakistan contributing to Illegal immigration in US. If someone were to make a list of problems created by Pakistan, it can go about a mile long. Notable are are:

    1. 9/11 attacks were masterminded by Pakistanis
    2. Atomic bomb & Nuclear technology was proliferated to Iran and N. Korea (President George Bush's axis of evil components) by Pakistani.
    3. 7/11 attacks in UK were planned and executed by UK nationals of Pakistani origins.

    Our administration is naive and intolerably ignorant to believe that Pakistan administration is helping us in war against terrorism, when Pakistan is the training ground for training terrorist feeding terrorism in Europe and Asia and Americas. By supporting Pakistani administration, our administration is just increasing probability for another Pakistani masterminded attack on US soil.

    If our administration has to look for a hardcore Islamic fanatic, it does not have to go beyond President Pervez Musharraf. The fact that US touts President Musharraf as it friend, is utterly cowardly US administration attitude.

    December 28, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  10. Lee Lee, Los Angeles, Ca

    "“those are numbers that I got today from a briefing..."

    That's almost comical.

    December 28, 2007 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. George, Billerica, Mass.

    Mitt should be flattered that Huck is imitating him: Making stuff up whenever it suits.

    December 28, 2007 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Wendy, Cincinnati, OH

    There is one week before the Iowa Caucaus. I would make a suggestion that anyone that loves to read would get a copy of "The Great Upheaval: America and the Birth of the Modern World, 1788-1800
    by Jay Winik" and review the course of America. I am in awe at how in sink Mitt Romney is with the Founding Fathers of this nation. I am amazed that he has been attacked in many similar ways that they were. Mitt Romney is one of those rare and genuine finds and Americans need to review their history to find leaders like Washington, Adams, Jefferson,& Lincoln. Mitt Romney is such a leader

    December 28, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  13. Jeanette, UT

    Keep talkin', Huck. You'll talk your way right out of the nomination by proving time and time again how little you actually know and how unqualified you are!!!

    December 28, 2007 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  14. Brad, Stockton, CA

    A CIA briefing or a newspaper report? He can't remember which?

    December 28, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  15. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Is Huckabee dumb as dirt or does he think Americans are dumb as dirt. Our country cannot afford to have a president who relies on newspaper reports and lacks the inability or is too lazy to do intelligent research on his own before he opens his mouth. Huckabee is the prime example of someone who has been living in his own "comfort zone" and has no concept of the world around him.

    December 28, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Eric Scott

    pretty offensive, huckleberry... pretty offensive.

    December 28, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Tim T.

    Fast forward to next week's bombing in X. Huck, "We need to protect our borders with Xis coming into the country." Then, it'll be "We need to screen non-Christians coming
    into the country." Then, "We need to screen non-Christians IN the country." Huck is
    an amateur and thus a danger to politics USA,

    December 28, 2007 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. LOU

    who is giving advise to this Bozo on foreign policy?

    December 28, 2007 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Jason, Seattle, WA

    Huckabee is digging his own political grave with the statements he makes.

    December 28, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  20. mattso

    WOW...is this guy for real???

    December 28, 2007 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  21. Val Davydov, Agawam, MA

    My, my, my – what have we got here? He now wants to make his case on immigration based on some numbers he is not even sure where he got those numbers from? And all of a sudden he is tough on immigration because it's a "top concern for GOP caucus goers in Iowa"? Was it not that long ago when he supported in-state tuition benefits for illegal immigrants and taxpayer-funded scholarships for illegal aliens? Do we really want this clueless flip-flopper run our country? Come on Iowans – you know better! You know that this guy is just trying to win your votes by saying anything and everything that would please you. LOOK AT HIS PRIOR RECORD. Huckabee will be a disaster if he is elected. We count on you Iowa.

    December 28, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  22. Carly

    Please America, don't elect this moron

    December 28, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Mrs. America

    An American expat living in Pakistan told me the same "statistics" about Pakistanki illegal immigration numbers years ago, and I didn't ask about a source because it was just a person who was living there saying it. He said it in the context about the people who hate us most get the most falsified visas. But when a presidential candidate comes up with the same thing today, it would be a good idea to have firm data. A newspaper article is not a reliable source, especially when it seems well more than a decade old. That's why the media say "he said" or "she said" or "an unidentified source said." They report what others say. That doesn't make it accurate.

    December 28, 2007 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. Scott Moyer-Kalamazoo, MI

    Presidential candidates relying on newspaper reports for reciting supposed facts? Are people really taking this guy seriously? Let us pray not lest we become prey yet again to the so-called religious right. Wake up folks and circle the wagons, crazier things have happened, take the last eight years for example.

    December 28, 2007 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  25. Greg Golden Valley, MN

    Very Scary! He seems as informed about the world as GW did when he ran in 2000. Wouldn't you think a candidate might check out various newspapers, news stations, and the web to at least be a bit knowledgeable about the world

    December 28, 2007 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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