'Huckabee' Plan Forgot Something: Attribution

Saturday, January 12, 2008

It is hardly surprising that Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, would approve of Mike Huckabee's new immigration plan. Seven of the nine points in the Huckabee plan were copied, in some cases almost verbatim, from a plan that Krikorian outlined nearly three years ago in the National Review. Rather than hammer out its own policy on the subject, the cash-starved Huckabee campaign simply lifted a ready-made one off the shelf.


Huckabee needed to come up with an immigration plan in a hurry last month. He was beginning his remarkable ascent in opinion polls, but was under attack from GOP rivals for a "liberal" position on immigration while governor of Arkansas from 1996 to 2007. His record in Arkansas, supporting tuition breaks for illegal immigrants and opposing a federal roundup of undocumented workers, made him vulnerable to criticism from the right.

When the campaign announced the governor's nine-point immigration plan on Dec. 6, it noted that it was "partially modeled" on Krikorian's proposal three years earlier. But Huckabee took credit for the plan in the Republican debate on Thursday night, and Mitt Romney's campaign is crying foul. A Romney "Fact Check" said that the Huckabee plan had lifted "whole sections of Krikorian's editorial without quotes or direct attribution."

A point-by-point comparison of the two plans supports the Romney critique. Huckabee's is virtually identical to Krikorian's, with the exception of two points: Build the Fence and Establish an Economic Border. Huckabee says that his proposal for a flat-rate sales tax, known as the "fair tax," would create an "economic disincentive" for illegal immigration, by forcing undocumented workers to pay taxes.

Following Krikorian, Huckabee calls for a strategy to deny jobs to illegal immigrants, ensure document security, discourage dual citizenship and modernize legal immigration. He proposes giving illegal immigrants 120 days before they must leave the country; Krikorian proposes 90 days.

The Huckabee campaign has copied verbatim at least 10 passages of the Krikorian plan, including the following. (identical words are in italics, and a full list of copied passages is available at http://www.washingtonpost.com/factchecker):

¿ Those who register and return to their home country will face no penalty if they later apply to immigrate or visit; those who do not return home will be, when caught, barred from future re-entry for a period of 10 years.

¿ Employment is the chief draw for most illegal immigrants and denying them jobs is the centerpiece of an attrition strategy.

¿ Promote better cooperation on enforcement by supporting legislative measures such as the CLEAR Act, which aims to systematize the relationship between local law and federal immigration officials.

Krikorian expressed no hard feelings about the copying of his words, noting that the Huckabee campaign is a shoestring operation, "unlike the Romney campaign."

"That is what think tanks do," he said. "We come up with ideas, and we hope that someone will steal them."

The Romney campaign had no immediate comment.


In Huckabee's defense, it must be noted that his Web site credits Krikorian for some of his immigration ideas. On Thursday night, the candidate implied that it was his own plan, rather than a hasty cut-and-paste job. Authors usually put quotation marks around phrases they copy from other authors. Two Pinocchios for less than full disclosure.

ONE PINOCCHIO: Some shading of the facts; TWO PINOCCHIOS: Significant omissions Or exaggerations; THREE PINOCCHIOS: Significant factual errors; FOUR PINOCCHIOS: Real whoppers; THE GEPPETTO CHECK MARK: Statements and claims contain the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth

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