By Yolanda Chávez Leyva

Mike Huckabee’s stance on immigration has reached amazing new lows.

A year ago, the former Arkansas governor was quoted in an Associated Press article as saying that when looking at immigration it was important to “not commit the same mistakes with our growing Hispanic population that we did with African Americans 150 years ago and beyond.”

Only three months ago, this Republican presidential candidate told AP he wasn’t “the toughest guy on immigration.”

But now his standpoint has gone from one of fairness toward undocumented immigrants to forcing them out of the country.

He favors polices that would prevent amnesty for the 12 million undocumented immigrants currently living in this country, and require all of them to register and leave the country in only 120 days, according to his new “Secure America Plan.” This plan even includes discouraging dual citizenship.

And it would end the exemptions Canadian and Mexican citizens get. If Huckabee had his way, they would have to register their biometric data with the government like other visitors to this country. The American Civil Liberties Union says the system of recording this data is “bloated and full of inaccuracy.” Since Canadians and Mexicans account for 85 percent of all visitors here, that system would become so bloated it might burst.

Huckabee’s about-face on immigration is perhaps a sign of the company he’s keeping these days. He has received the endorsement of Jim Gilchrist, founder of the Minuteman Project. Patrolling the borders as a civilian militia, the Minutemen are recognized as an extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, and have campaigned alongside

white supremacist and Neo-Nazi groups in the past.

That Huckabee would not only receive such an endorsement, but embrace it, implies that he has not only changed his position on immigration issues, but is trying to change his image as well.

And that’s where Chuck Norris comes in. The conservative pop culture icon also lends Huckabee an aura of the hard core.

Huckabee is pandering to the far right in the Republican Party. In the process, he is further poisoning the atmosphere on immigration.

José Miguel Leyva is a freelance writer and novelist living in El Paso, Texas. He can be reached at


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By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.

Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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