Mitt Romney & Self-Deportation: Video, Twitter Reactions
Mitt Romney Self-Deportation Gaffe
Newt Gingrich had a terrible night, but opponent Mitt Romney would end up taking most of the heat. The January 23 Republican debate was, for Gingrich, like a sitcom without a laugh track: he came off as mean and dodgy, and viewers felt like they were watching an acrimonious family argument. Compelling, in a car-crash sort of way.
Mitt Romney wasn't doing so hot, either. When asked how he'd handle illegal immigration, Mitt Romney's answer was "self-deportation". Seriously. There's video footage below, if you missed it live. We also have the Twitter reactions, which are pretty much what you'd expect.
Mitt Romney said, "The answer is self-deportation, which is people decide they can do better by going home because they can't find work here because they don't have legal documentation to allow them to work here."
There is no line. Mitt Romney demonstrated that he has no grasp of how immigration works, and he inadvertently saved Newt Gingrich's ass. The audience was openly laughing at Romney.
Without Romney's self-deportation misstep, we'd all be talking about how badly Gingrich blew the debate.
Self-Deportation: National Punchline
Mitt Romney's self-deportation comment caught the public imagination, primarily because it makes no sense whatsoever. Honestly, now: there's no way to frame the idea that people who made their way to the USA to make better lives for themselves and their families would just up and go back to their home countries. That's just never going to happen here on Earth.
What Romney (probably) meant was that, if employers are properly regulated, incentives for illegal immigrants to stay in the US would start to disappear, but, if so, that's how he should have framed it. Then again, Republicans aren't (at least in terms of branding) big fans of regulation.
So we're left with the bizarre image of self-deportation. Meanwhile, criminals will presumably be self-arresting?
Hold on, though: the term wasn't coined by Mitt Romney last night- he was just unfortunate enough to mention it first on national television. "Self-deportation" is a euphemism for creating an environment in which it's so difficult for illegal immigrants to thrive, that they attrition out. The term "self-deportation" is used because it doesn't reference the layers of regulation involved: it's not the free-market solution that Republicans claim to champion.