Anti-Immigration Think-Tank Slams Herman Cain

Herman Cain.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore/6236984948/sizes/z/in/photostream/">Gage Skidmore</a>/Flickr


The right-wing Center for Immigration Studies wasn’t electrified by Herman Cain’s call for a deadly border fence. 

CIS, which is run by Puerto Rican nationalist Mark Krikorian, is a group that’s known for advocating a hardline policy on immigration. The group’s favorite plan is “attrition through enforcement,” which means making life for unauthorized immigrants as miserable as possible so they’ll leave. But even CIS was apparently shocked by Cain’s call for a border fence that would electrocute people who attempted to cross. 

CIS’ Stanley Renshon writes:

That’s right, he wants to make crossing the border illegally the lethal equivalent of a national Milgram shock experiment, one in which punishment is immediately meted out without benefit of any arrest, charge, or trail.

Whatever virtues Mr. Cain has a business executive, it is clear that he is almost wholly devoid of substantive knowledge or thought about any of the matters he had every right to be expected to be asked about when he put himself forward as a presidential candidate.

[…]

Mr. Cain’s thoughtless remarks will doubtless be put forward as an illustration of the “fact” that anti-immigrant feeling permeates the highest levels of the Republican Party – their presidential candidates.

It illustrates no such thing, of course. It is solely the witless remark of a man who has no real substantive or experiential reason to be part of any platform for presidential candidates. But those of us who favor legal immigration and enforcement will pay nonetheless.

So Renshon is mostly worried that the buzz created by Cain’s high-voltage rhetoric—even if delivered um, “jokingly“—will discredit the immigration restrictionist cause. A note to CIS: That anonymous study you published earlier this year affirming the existence of so-called “terror babies?” It’s doing pretty much the same thing. 

UPDATE: Herman Cain is back on the fence:

Initially Cain apologied when told his remarks had upset some in the state. “Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea culpa,” he said, using the Latin formula for expressing contrition. But when a reporter challenged his description of his comments, saying he didn’t seem to be telling a joke, the retired pizza executive acknowledged: “You’re right.” He said he still believes in the need for a border fence “and it might be electrified.”

Cain was just kidding about just kidding. He really does think electrocuting people who try to cross the border between the U.S. and Mexico is a good idea.

OUR NEW CORRUPTION PROJECT

The more we thought about how MoJo's journalism can have the most impact heading into the 2020 election, the more we realized that so many of today's stories come down to corruption: democracy and the rule of law being undermined by the wealthy and powerful for their own gain.

So we're launching a new Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption. We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We'll publish what we find as a major series in the summer of 2020, including a special issue of our magazine, a dedicated online portal, and video and podcast series so it doesn't get lost in the daily deluge of breaking news.

It's unlike anything we've done before and we've got seed funding to get started, but we're asking readers to help crowdfund this new beat with an additional $500,000 so we can go even bigger. You can read why we're taking this approach and what we want to accomplish in "Corruption Isn't Just Another Scandal. It's the Rot Beneath All of Them," and if you like how it sounds, please help fund it with a tax-deductible donation today.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

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

Subscribe

Support our journalism

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

Donate